Preppers and Survivalists Must Be Hunters and Gatherers

empty_grocery_shelvesIt just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store.  But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium.  Good for us.  Tell me again how long that is?  Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes.  So, how do you plan for it?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location.  This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power.  A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns.  Well, we hope so anyway.

At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes.  With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in.  We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.  

Time Bears On

We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in.  The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning.  Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills.  Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas.  Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.  

Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal.   The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area.   So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area.  Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources.  It’s time to take advantage of this situation.  

Hunting Becomes Necessity

squirrel_hunting_meatThis section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should.  Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets.  Actually this should be done from the get go.  This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets.  We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source.  I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing.  In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.  

Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife 

What will you hunt?  If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now.  Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly.  I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.  

Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do.  Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest.  This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas.  Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can.  Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence.  Archery is also an option to consider.   

Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away.  You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well.  You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign.  Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.  

hog_hunting_survivalWhat game might you expect to find?  Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country.  The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting.  The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey.  Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such.  Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on.  If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese.  Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located.  Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.    

For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo.  Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun.  A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game.  Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.

Sport Fishing for Sustenance

fishing_survival_nutritionWhen we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF.  As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing.  Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught.  I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional.  You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish.  Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.

Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc.  Have the whole shooting match on hand.  Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it.  You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well.  You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.  


survival_garden_forage_foodThis is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden.  By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size.  As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area.  This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.  

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice.  Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time.  However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats.  Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.  

Photos Courtesy of: 

John Woods

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10 comments… add one
  • Roger February 27, 2017, 10:29 pm

    Depending on what kind of disaster/emergency occurs, a very rapid catastrophe like a massive asteroid strike will likely wipe out most of the living creatures on the Earth, ergo, there won’t be much if anything alive to hunt or gather. If a slower-acting SHTF event occurs like a solar flare/massive EMP happens, then modern civilization will probably go bye-bye, and the hungry masses will probably be heading your way (is running a generator really a good ideal or a big bulls-eye). Personally, I think having a large garden and small animal husbandry (such as chickens, rabbits, even rats) is most likely to cover most SHTF needs. But you better be prepared to defend you and yours because starving people (especially in mass) don’t obey laws or rules or moral standards, you have and they want and they will do whatever it takes to get! GLAHP!

  • irishdutchuncle February 28, 2017, 12:00 am

    before we had “wildlife management” most of the large game animals here in PA, were gone. whitetail deer are abundant here now, but the throngs of hungry people are (will be) also. most of the game animals will probably be wasted, by slob hunters. I think we will have to try to “farm” the game animals,
    to some extent…
    wild hogs haven’t gotten to my area yet, and you really need to get the spices right, I hear.

  • Ray February 28, 2017, 7:59 am

    No matter what your plan is there are a MINIMUM 25 million “buggouts” headed your way once the lights go out. The “golden hoard” won’t be unarmed bearded suburban coffee drinkers or EBT refugees. It will be “Preppers and survivalist”. Doom porn addicts, armed to the teeth and desperate once the gas and freeze dry’s run out. Think about that. Desperate, batshit crazy , doom porn addicts carrying weapons and ammo as half of the “BOB” who think THEY are entitled to “survive” by any means , fair or foul. In a world with no “rule of law”. “Prepping ” and the cottage industry’s it has spawned have set us up for the “perfect storm”. A bloodbath the like of which will make the angels weep.

  • Roger 2 February 28, 2017, 3:21 pm

    So the rest of the world went away during your six months of eating in? Best case is that everywhere will be hunted out in the first two months. By the time you camo-up and wander the woods, there might be some bugs and flies, but nothing larger than a mouse.

    You cannot plan on your imagination saving you.

  • G.A. February 28, 2017, 7:19 pm

    Agreed…hunted and fished out. Gardening and raising protein are good skills to acquire now while things are still calm along with a really sound plan on how to defend your assets once you’ve grown them.

  • Pineslayer February 28, 2017, 9:46 pm

    Amen Doc. I’ve been building up garden beds and actually using them. Next up is small animal infrastructure. My friend raises rabbits and I want to have a system ready to ramp up production. Chickens are on the short list too. Even if people don’t have time to raise the things, build up the infrastructure, you will be ahead of the game.

  • lonewolf March 1, 2017, 12:42 pm

    most people in this country don’t even know where their food comes from, sometimes even which animal, even if they survive-doubtful- think they can make it out of the cities into the countryside? this is a country where most don’t walk 200 yards from their cars, no fuel, no electric, how far do you think they will walk? not very far before they drop dead from hunger, thirst or exhaustion.

  • Rastas McGee March 2, 2017, 8:27 pm

    Augment your supplies with traps, fish baskets and snares. And get sneaky ! Be the one that sees, not seen.

  • Ray March 3, 2017, 8:00 am

    And just how EXACTLY do you plan of defending your mini-farm? Most “survival” web sights , “prepping” magazines and doom porn have sold the suicide of “bugging out” for generations. Your garden/mini farm wont survive for 20 min. one the “doomers” sweep your place clean of everything edible. Including you and your family.

  • Roger March 5, 2017, 6:34 pm

    ‘Doom Porn’? Apparently you like a much different ‘style’ of fantasy than I do! I dream of a self-reliant life style away from the oppressive arrogance of the US government (make that all governments) who obviously crave absolute power over ‘we the people’, and treat us like sheeple! How would I defend my mini-farm? The obvious answer is ‘the best I can’. I have no ‘Rambo’ fantasies and I KNOW that nothing (and no one) is invincible, but knowledge, determination, awareness and of wherein you basically have a garden/orchard that doesn’t look to be cultivated, weeds are welcome, especially edible ones like dandelions, plantain, various grasses (all grains are basically grass seeds), etc. Also, one of the advantages of keeping small animals like rabbits is that you can keep them inside, out of sight, and feed them at least partially with the non-edible (for human) by-products of your unconventional garden! Some might think that an underground bunker is the solution, but sooner or later you have to come up for air and resupply, then you’re probably an easy target. Any structure that is or can be relatively fire resistant and bullet-resistant with security-conscious inhabitants are going to be in better shape than your average marauder; you have the advantage of home turf and that can be a very good one if you make it so! (read: booby traps, no cover for attackers, etc.) Also, other than stupid government regs., there is no reason not to have your home surrounded by attached green houses to make it easier to protect you and yours! GLAHP!


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