Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
Don’t get the Monday blues – I have another challenge for you!
If you missed the previous challenges, you can catch up here:
Today’s challenge is inspired by the course that I took in Croatia with Selco and Toby.
Yesterday, I asked you what food you could find nearby if the situation had devolved to the point that you’d gone through all your stored food.
Now, if the situation has devolved that far, you have to also imagine that there is no Rule of Law. It’s the Wild West. Everyone is a threat.
As Selco said to us, “You think this is hard? Now do it while everyone is trying to kill you.”
When the SHTF in Bosnia, the threats were everywhere. Snipers were shooting civilians from the hilltops when they went to the river to get water. Neighbors were fighting neighbors for their resources. It was mayhem for an entire year. (If you want to delve further into that, you can read about it in Selco’s paperback book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival, which is $5 off for Preparedness Month. Or you can take his course, One Year in Hell to go even deeper.)
So today’s challenge takes yesterday’s a step further.
How would you get that nearby food if everyone around was a threat to your life or physical well-being?
This should be a great conversation.
Would you go at night? Would you move stealthily and slowly during the day? Go in teams? This thought certainly puts a new twist on things. I really look forward to this conversation.
Here’s the link to the post in the forum.
Banding together would make the most sense, but finding people who are trustworthy would be hard.
Assuming that, I would probably want to go at dawn – light enough to see, early enough so that the gangs are sleeping (hopefully). Stealth mode, naturally. Three people, maybe – two to gather, one to stand watch. Old lady carts to haul it away.
Hi Miss Kitty
Wish you were my neighbor. We could go together.
Here I have some I’d trust early on but only one family as things got really bad. I moved that family onto my property three years ago.
I have three acres. I have cultivated area of native edible plants. There are a few medicinal plants and as I find areas with plenty I transplant some or try to gather seed to start more here close to me. I can’t leave my husband more than a few minutes or he comes hunting for me. Then he forgets what it is we are doing, and is constantly asking why.
To get to a stash I’d go quickly after dark. Probably alone. To forrage wild greens or check a trap, dawn or twilight when I could work quickly in faint light.
I have a teenage boy who was on drugs who became a father just after his 15th birthday. He’s cleaned up and is in school and helping his girlfriend raise their baby. I’ve been teaching him wild edibles and medicines. If he stays close I’d take him. Good help with Forraging or as a lookout for me. I should teach him archery. Its quiet and deadly if an enemy is close. As a teen I had a wall full of trophies. Then my bows were stolen. I took it up again more recently. But I do have an extra bow. I just need to get it restrung. Good fiberglass long bow. Cheap because the string was badly freyed.
To just go hunting or Forraging here in high mountain desert is pretty challenging anyway.
We have some deer but more elk on the mountain above us. If i killed one I’d have to butcher it out and pack it home in pieces even with one or two helpers. Its rugged mountain just above me.
This is why I’ve raised chickens, ducks, and rabbits. Yes I have to feed and water them but in return they feed me. Young rooster and drakes go to the table sooner or later. Hens lay eggs and we eat them or let a few hens get broody each year and add to the flock. About 2 years is the good laying time for the hens. An old hen can be a bit tough eating but slow stewing at a simmer for a few hours cures that. Cooking in wine or some vinegar for a sweet sour sauce is good also.
We have lots of Doves for part of the year. They would be easy enough to trap with the simple native trap I was taught as a kid. Just need seeds of larger grasses or grain. They love our chicken food. Its quiet and you could get several every day. If you can set and bait it. Several traps could be productive but would have to be checked quickly. If set at dusk you could check the string of traps a little after dawn but before full on sunrise. Doves are already eating by then. Actually any bird caught can add flavor to stew even without much meat on tiny birds. That’s what I did with the ones I cought during the 10 months I lived off the land. They flavored soups or simple broth to drink. Even tiny scraps of meat were welcome. The native snare will breaks legs if tiny birds get in it. At that point they would die any way so no point in wasting them. Larger birds roast nicely or add good meat to a meal how ever prepared. My one animal trap would catch things up to about the size of a rabbit or house cat. At that point I’d have to decide is it food or fur? Summer trapping isn’t safe here because in warm weather fleas carry bubonic plague. Wild Rabbits are forbidden in hot weather for that reason. In cold weather trapping could be productive. Might wish I had enough to have a string of traps. But that might be hard to conceal from people. Praire dogs are tasty in a good NM style chili stew. Spring and fall is the best time for them. I’d check traps every other day about dawn. If your hunting prairie dogs they have lookouts that whistle if alarmed. A 22 rifle is perfect but you must get in place then remain still so they feel safe to come out. They pop up out of their underground homes, stand up on hind legs to look around then scurry to their destination. They love sunflower or other seeds. You could feed them grain scattered near by and have easy hunting if you shoot rapidly.
The problem is, gun fire would draw the courious quickly. Snares or traps would be better but a prairie dog in trouble is a noisy thing. That’s why I’m polishing up my rusty archery skills. I also have a medium sized cross bow and bolts to practice with. In this case silence is golden. The the long bow or the cross bow could easily kill those short haired cousins of a squrrel.
There are some patches of wild black raspberries on the mountain. I wouldn’t take a lot of them If up there. They are a favorite of the bears. Keep the bears eating well and they will stay up on the mountain.
This is an interesting challenge. Have to think about this one. That’s what is challenging about it.
Clergylady, I like your ideas very much. Silence is the exact reason my daughter and I learned to use a longbow.
Good for both of you. It’s challenging to learn to used a long bow and do it well.
I got a .22 caliber pellet rifle that the pellet hitting the target makes more noise than the actual firing of the rifle.
Excellent! Our first experience in the boondocks was up in Canada in the Algonquin Forest. Nobody minds I’d you’ve got a longbow up there. I’m actually not sure about pellet guns.
I wish we were neighbors too – I could learn a lot from you! 🙂
Are Prairie Dogs safe, or do you hunt them the same as wild rabbits? I know when I lived in Colorado, the plague would decimate colonies near me.
Good ideas about the timing and teamwork. Carts might be noisier than you’d like. I have some back issues, but I can pretty easily use a backpack that has the sternum strap and waistband to make things easier to carry. Just a thought 🙂
I agree about the noise from the carts, but it all depends on what you are harvesting as to how you carry it.
In addition to the people, in a shtf situation we will have to worry about feral dog packs too, probably. Going armed with a group in an urban/suburban area goes against my grain, but going alone may be unfeasible.
I live on 455 acres. I have mesquite that the beans are ready in around July/August. They can be cooked down for jelly or crushed to make flour. I use to feed them to my goats, but I had to give up my dairy goats back into July due to my husbands health. I have some of the thorn-less cactus growing that can be used to cook and eat as well as the pulp is a good medicinal source for wounds. It is the same type of cactus used in Mexico commercially for food. The prickly pears can also be used to make jelly off the cactus. In my draw I have wild persimmon in the fall that can be eaten fresh or cooked for jelly. The flowers of the yucca tree can be eaten like zucchini flowers. I have rabbits, deer, quail and wild birds on my property. Yucca roots were used to make soap for laundry. Creosote is used medicinally. Mormon tea grows slowly on my property, but can be made into a tea.
There is a saying “How far can a hungry man walk in three days.” That is how far away you need to be from anyone who may come to take your food.
I am at my bug out location. Of course I will have to decide on which of my livestock to reduce in order to stretch my feed.
It sounds like you have a lot of “hidden” food sources, just due to the fact that most folks wouldn’t recognize them as food. Very nice!
I already gather stuff locally, near the river wild asparagus, garlic, parsnips, berries and mushrooms
ok a better reply for this one. I go in the early morning before the sun comes up, many of the areas I have to go in have several homeless living there, I do have a old working night vision scope and can go by myself. lots of places to look that are easy now when trouble hits it will be much harder.
Yes! That’s why I added this to the food challenge. Sometimes we overlook the fact that the times could make our plans a lot more difficult to carry out.
Although we have a ranch of grass fed beef and a greenhouse plus a veggie garden, if all those options were gone, I would forage around the ranch with an armed body guard. I have noted many plants and what their uses are, writing them in my notebook. I was quite surprised at how many wild edibles there are here. So, IF this happened in spring and summer, that would be an option. If midwinter, I cannot imagine what I would do for food. Also, if the ground was poisoned with nuclear fallout or burned up from pipe bombs, I would figure it was my time to head outta this world. I have great skills to barter, but who can you trust in that scenario? It’s likely that the ones close enough to me are out of supplies as well with families to feed. None of this is a pleasant thought.
Some great options! If you can keep the area secure, your place will be a goldmine of edible stuff. You also brought up some scary as heck scenarios.
I have a stocked pond on my property as does my neighbor. All of us have gardens and save seeds. Living in Florida we have nearly a year round growing season. We are about 3/4 mile through the swamp from the river where we can fish as necessary. If we have to go out we can go through the woods day or night.
We are too far from anywhere else that might have provisions so if we can’t grow it or raise it we are going to die.
Daisy, One thing that I never see at any blog dealing with private preparedness is what is the “Government” planning for your preparedness needs/desires versus what the “Government” is going to do/give you/demand that you do. I am a degreed Logistican and a retired military logistican. I am forwarding an email from the Society of Logistics Engineers (SOLE) that addresses what FEMA has planned for you and how you can find out what you need/want to know.