After 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)