Planning to Hunt for Food in a Post-apocalyptic Scenario? Think Twice.
We often hear of people who plan to hunt as a way to feed their family in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Dave’s advice is to think twice. There are several downsides to hunting in a post-apocalypse scenario.
First, everyone else will probably have the same idea, quickly leading to a scarcity of game. Unregulated hunting in populated areas will decimate populations of white tail deer and other game animals, making it a short-term solution at best. Even if you have planned ahead and live in a sparsely populated area with plenty of wild animals, you will have to manage the game population by using good practices such as only taking male deer or dry mothers who do not have young ones that still depend on them.
Second, keep in mind that gunshots will draw attention to you. You and a dozen other guys are in a state park hunting deer to feed your starving families. You get lucky and kill one. How soon will it be before some other hungry fellow comes to take your kill, possibly leaving your family not only hungry, but down a member?
Third, conditions may be such that hunting is impractical or impossible. Maybe whatever caused the TEOTWAKI also killed off the deer. Maybe the (pick one) radiation, comet strike, dust from the volcano, or the virus make it impossible to go out hunting.
Finally, keep in mind that there are limited ways to preserve food in a grid-down situation. If you kill a large animal in July when temperatures are in the 90s, how are you going to preserve that much meat? Are you going to run the pressure canner 24-7, and do you have that many canning jars?
Dave’s tips today focuses on alternatives to hunting:
- Store food. Lots of it. More that you expect you will need. In addition to the standard grains and beans, include freeze dried meats, canned meats, and meat-based MREs or MRE entrees that can provide protein and fat. Your food storage plan is one of the foundations of your preps, so don’t skimp on it; store a variety of different foods that utilize a range of ingredients, provide many different menu options, and are preserved using an assortment of methods. (See our tip on redundancy and variety for more information.)
- Raise livestock. Maybe you don’t have room for cows or goats, but most backyards can accommodate chickens; rabbits take very little space, and city dwellers have been raising pigeons for centuries.
- Grow a garden. Even if you are limited to being indoors, you can plant lettuce near a window, sprout beans in a jar, and take other simple steps to add vitamins and some fresh food to a diet that might otherwise consist entirely of food from pouches and cans. Plus, anything you can add will extend your stored foods, and potentially your life.
- Trap small game. When the other guys are out there in their tree stand waiting for a deer to wander by, you can be trapping small game like squirrels, rabbits, beaver, raccoons, ground hogs, foxes, coyotes, and even birds. If you do not own some traps, you can construct some snares and simple traps like deadfalls. Trapping for sustenance has several advantages over hunting: you can hunt in one location but you can set a dozen or more traps covering a wide area, traps and snares work while you sleep, and trapping is quiet.
- Don’t overlook unusual or non-traditional sources. Are you hungry enough to eat frogs, snakes, or bugs and grubs? Not today, perhaps, but that gnawing feeling in your belly and the sad look on your kids’ faces may make you reconsider in a true survival situation.