Can you sustain yourself by hunting alone?

imagesAfter much thought and research on this topic I am forced to realize that there are very few areas in North America where a person can sustain them self much less a family by hunting and gathering alone. Right here in my area local deer herds are low due to unlimited doe tags being issued by the Michigan D.N.R. but just 30 miles away there are doe herds wiping out crops and in need of thinning. The problem with this scenario if shit hits the fan is this. Once you have depleted your local area of game both small and large you will have to travel further and further out from your bol to find forage. You will burn more calories then you can take in doing this. You will also encounter others doing the same thing and eventually be killed over this available forage. 
Major Dad has a better situation than many of us as he is in Alaska where there is much more available game and a much lower population density. There are huge tracts of state and federal lands in most states but to use them you have to either move there and live in some portable shelter or travel each day into them. By the time you have moved out to the middle of this wilderness, hacked out a spot and harvested your first garden you will have spent close to 2 years. Do you have that much supplies? 

I feel that to survive any collapse of this nation we will need to not only hunt,fish and forage but grow crops and raise livestock while somehow staying warm and dry, healthy and safe. This is a huge task people. I tell you this not to destroy your hope but to make you tighten your resolve. Failure is certain death. If your animals die from disease you are in trouble. If your crops freeze out your in trouble. If you can not preserve your food you are in trouble. If you run out of ammo, salt, or wild game you are in trouble. 
Time for a reality check. 
How many people are in your house? 
How many meals per day will I need to feed them for one year? if twice per day the answer is 730 meals. 
If you do not take in enough calories per day you will not be bale to do the hard work it will take to harvest. 
730 meals : Lets break that down. 
We need protein, carbs and veggies or fruit. 
Meat alone for protein would mean for a family of 4 you would need a minimum of 1/2 pound per person per day = 2 pounds x 365 = 730 pounds of meat or fish per year. This gives each person 1/4 pound per meal twice per day. This would add up to around 10 to 12 deer per year. I don’t know any area that will support that kind of harvest. You will have to raise most of that meat. Rabbits, chickens, pigs , goats and others are all good choices. On average you will need a about 100 4 pound rabbits a deer, a goat, 50 chickens and some fish to feed 4 people for 1 year. sound easy? its not. Feeding these ainmals is the main concern you will be faced with. Goats eat most anything even wild forest leaves and grass. They are great choice and taste somewhat like deer. Rabbits should have alafalfa so you need to plant food lots for you bunnies and you will have to have a way to store that hay in a barn or shed.


Chickens can forage for bugs most of the time but during winter months you will need corn od bean meals to sustain them You will have to grow that. Chickens can produce eggs which can be your salvation in the long run. One good hen can lay 200 eggs per year. Chickens are a must have survival animal. Planting apple, pear and other fruit trees will give you huge lifts in sugar which is very important for energy. Plant strawberries, rasberries, and other plants that come up on their own every year. Keep the weeded and free of parasites. All of this can be fed to you livestock to keep it healty and provide you with adequate protein. 
Your garden should be able to produce starch foods like rice or potatoes,corn and greens. You will need approx. 1 medium potato per person per day or 365 times 4= 1460 potatos. Thats a lot of spuds man!!!!! Can you grow even half of that? Other starch plants like cat tail and Artichoke can help to supplement that carb intake we need. Corn will be needed to carry your birds through the winters so we wont be eating much corn. You can raise grains like wheat,rye and oats as they have lots of carbs there. 
Are you starting to see the scope of this task? If the store was gone tomorrow how long would you last? Most of us believe that order will be restored quickly and the bread lines will be running again. W e stock a couple months of food and some ammo and are content. I was one of those guys until last summer. 

My main concern now is to have 1 years supply of canned veggies and complex carbs(starchy foods) potato flakes and such. salt,cooking oil and a 5 year supply of heirloom seeds. I am raising the meat now. The garden comes online this coming year. The plot has been cultivated and seeded with rye and laced with rabbit manure. We are planting fruit trees all over the property. By fall I will be as close to self reliant as I can get until the fruit trees bear fruit. If you can try and plan to grow more than you can possibly use as food will be the number one trade good in a post shtf world. Its all about food folks. 



Other useful resources:

Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness)

Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )

Liberty Generator (Build and make your own energy source)

Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)

Why you shouldn’t count on hunting after T-SHTF

downloadI know many hunters who think they will be able to rely on their skills when T-SHTF, that they will be able to take game in order to sustain their family over a sustained period of time.  In the short run this might be true, in the long run nothing could be further from the truth.  If you sit down and take a look at the basic math of the position I’m about to take on this subject, the conclusion is irrefutable.  Using the Whitetail Deer for my case study, let’s walk the dog on this one.

– In the late 1800′s the population of the US was around 63 million.ad2

– In the late 1800′s the  Whitetail was almost hunted to extinction.

As man moved into the whitetail’s environment, he hunted them for food and more. Venison meat became popular and whitetails were almost hunted into extinction by the late 1800′s for their hides and meat. Venison was a delicacy and served in the finest restaurants from Chicago to New York. Refrigerated trains ran daily from the Midwest to these cites packed full of deer carcasses that had been harvested by professional hunters. People thought that the mid-western deer were an inexhaustible resource. They were wrong.

– Today the Whitetail Deer population is estimated to be at 20-25 million.

– There are around 12-14 million hunters over the age of 16 in the US.

– Currently hunters must follow strict sets of rules, usually set by their state, including (but not limited to): Hunting Season Dates, Baiting Laws,  Bag Limits,Quotas, Weapon Restrictions, Controlled Area Hunts, not to mention the requirement to obtain the actual hunting license.

– In addition to those rules, hunters are bound by a set of ethics, awareness and sportsmanship.

– If T-SHTF, all of those rules, regulations and ethics go out the window.

– Remember in the late 1800′s the US population was around 63 million, it is now over 315 million.

– There are an estimated 88.8 guns per 100 people in the US, with 62% of Americans owning more than 1 gun.

– The obvious conclusion: A massive population (many of whom are armed) combined with a food shortage after T-SHTF will decimate the deer population (and other game) in short time.  The typical rules which exist to help regulate hunting will be out the window which will enable novice hunters to bag game.

Right about now you might be thinking about that time you sat in a tree stand for hours, not catching a glimpse of your elusive prey.  Remember if T-SHTF all of that goes out the window and it won’t take long for suburbanites to figure out they they can easily construct deer feeders or salt licks in order to bring their prey to them.

While these suburbanites might not own any Mossy Oak clothing or have the first clue on how to actually dress an animal after a kill, rest assured desperation will lead them to take down as many deer (and other game) as possible.  It doesn’t take much skill to toss a salt lick out and then set up 300 yards away with a Remington 700 and Leupold scope.

William R. Forstchen actually wrote about this phenomenon in his book One Second After, which followed a North Carolina town after an EMP strike hit the continental US.  I don’t recall the actual text from the book but do remember that even in their mountain town, once plentiful with game, it only took a few months for the game population to almost completely disappear.  Not a deer, squirrel or rabbit were to be found, they had all been hunted to the brink of extinction in order to feed the town.


So here is the bottom line.  While hunting should be considered a viable option for providing food for your family after T-SHTF do not overestimate how much game you will be able to take, especially in the long term.  Increased competition from (literally) thousands of other folks who will be desperate for food combined with traditional rules and regulations typically associated with hunting not being followed will quickly decimate the amount of available game for the taking, much like what occurred in the late 1800′s.  The numbers simply do not lie when it comes to analyzing the probability of this occurring.  Make sure to incorporate these factors into your prepping strategy and have a plan for additional ways to grow/gather food.


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