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Author Topic: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think  (Read 7180 times)

cockpitbob

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Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« on: October 08, 2013, 09:11:12 PM »
Living in the woods we need about 3,300 calories a day to not loose weight.  This article paints a grim picture of how hard it is to survive as a hunter gatherer and illustrates why on TV we see experts like Survivor Man Les Straud go hungry for a week.  The table below from the article shows how much plant material you need per day to get the 3,300 calories we need.  I can see why we transitioned from hunter-gatherers to farmers many centuries ago.

I'm starting to realize that any long-term survival prepping needs to include seeds and farming equipment as well as hunting and fishing gear.  If I recall correctly, in a total SHTF colapse, the time before this country runs out of food is just a few months.
 

KK0G

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 10:13:54 PM »
There's no doubt that food is a HUGE concern when it comes to survival. I think it's natural that we like to concentrate on cool gadgets, guns, radios, night vision etc, etc, because that stuff is, well, it's just cool. But it's all useless junk if you starve to death for lack of food. No doubt that mans total domination of the world we live on and all of our advanced technology can be traced back directly to when our ancient ancestors started farming which allowed us to pursue other activities instead of spending every waking moment in the never ending quest for food.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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gil

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2013, 12:45:10 AM »
Absolutely. Most people would starve to death. Even those who think they could live off the land probably couldn't, far from it. The problem would be to survive the learning curve and the fact that while the population dwindled, every bit of food would be consumed. The Chinese fleeing Hunan Province in WWII were eating tree bark.. They were so famined, they only walked two miles a day. McCandless almost pulled it off in Alaska and died because he was malnourished and ate the wrong plant. He had killed a moose with a .22 but although he had been told how to conserve the meat, he could not do it fast enough. He wasn't prepared to smoke so much meat. As soon as the supermarket would be empty, every edible and not-so-edible plant would be consumed. All game and pets would be killed, including mice and rats. Then canibalism would appear. It's not a grim outlook, it's reality. You couldn't hunt or fish, because someone would kill you for your catch. Hiding food would be the only way, and in different caches. Storing food in one place would be foolish. Thinking you could defend your food would be foolish. You'd need to be ready to leave, fast. When a gang of a hundred hungry thugs comes for you, it is not the time to fight, but to flee and dig out a cache of supplies later; because you can't carry much.. I'd suggest an all-terrain motorcycle, with long suspensions and knobby tires.. I used to own a Honda 600XL, which was great I wish I hadn't been hit by a car while riding it! One would need to survive long enough for the population to be reduced in order to leave food for everyone. Farming then would be crucial. It would probably take a couple years for game and fish to come back. There would be no point in planting anything early though, as anything growing would be stolen and eaten on the spot. You'd have to wait for when there would be much less people around.

I would say three months worth of food would be the strict minimum, a year would be better. The problem is to survive that long. Only badasses and criminals, the most violent ones,  would be left. It wouldn't be the adventurous camping trip some preppers imagine! All the movies and shows I have seen on the subject were way too optimistic. Well, maybe except "The Road" (2009). Some crazy people say they would like it when the SHTF. Not me, I know better.

BTW, how do you process acorns?

Gil.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 11:32:42 AM by gil »

cockpitbob

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 07:49:36 AM »
Well written, Gil!  You've clearly been thinking about this for a while and see it with clear vision.

Regarding processing acorns, I need to learn that.  I have a lot of oaks on my property.  Now  is about the time, though the crop is light.  You can't count on acorns as a reliable fall food source.  Some years the oaks drop almost no acorns and others the ground is covered with them.

Geek

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 08:47:45 AM »
You've also got the problem that it may take a year or more before any crops are available for food and that assumes success the first year.  I have heard others state that their goal is to stock 30 months of food.  Do the math on that for any number of people and you've got a huge problem of both money and storage space.  For most this simply becomes impossible.

However, that doesn't mean it isn't smart to prep.  If you have say 6 months of food and are able to come up with at least some food post-apocalypse, that 6 month supply might last a year.  There are also scenarios that are prolonged but not permanent.  For instance, a pandemic may require a 3-6 month quarantine, after which life slowly returns to normal.

Prep the best you can and hope it is enough for whatever actually unfolds.

RadioRay

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 11:39:21 AM »
Interesting that you should bring this up.  I used to teach wilderness survival skills, mostly alpine and high desert.  We would routinely have irrational students who insisted that they did not want to learn snares and traps but only wanted to live off of plants.  It boils down to the math as illustrated in the chart - at BEST!  The bottom line is, in North America, food = meat and all else is there to help the meat. This is why even frontier farms, in addition to corn, beans, wheat and etc. had live stock, and hunted to supplement the stew pot. 

Domestic cattle have more fat than wild animals and you'll find very quickly that living off the land means little or no fat. In any disruption of normal market activities such as war, & etc. , in the long term,  fat often becomes worth it's weight in gold. Domestic crops like beans have been bred to produce more chow per calories of work expended to grow and harvest them.  Remember, if it costs you MORE calories to eat than you get from eating, eventually you'll die.  This is why hunting is not as productive as snaring.  Snares will 'hunt' for you 24/7, virtually silently.  You can carry two dozen small game snares in your shirt pocket and still have room for your bandana.

I had a very good friend once who was talking about living off the land.  We had a three day camping trip coming up.  I suggested that I'd bring MRE's and he could spend the weekend 'living off the land'.  He's a very intelligent fellow and saw the problem immediately.  I then asked how - if it cannot be done now, it's could be done 'then' when 'the hills' are filled with a few million of his neighbors? 

>>> Food storage is best used to allow you to keep away from dangerous areas, like population centers, markets, and etc. while there is major danger.  It is to be used to supplement what you can safely gather until your first crops become edible. If you do not have seeds for food, you need some.  Do some hobby gardening on your patio in buckets if you have to, but get used to growing at least SOME of your own food.  Consider 'guerrilla gardening too - planting unorganised bunches of food plants, which most people will not recognize as food. Oh by the way, because you WILL suddenly be eating 'third world style' make certain that you have a LOT of third world spices.  About day three when our survival students finally became hungry enough, and tucked into boiled ground squirrel with boiled greens and boiled roots & etc. I was used the same wild ingredients AND my spices to make a nice 'Squirrel Tika Masala" - Indian spiced dinner...   I let the students salivate a few minutes while I explained that I advised bringing spices  :o :o :o :o     then I would hand out little spice packets for them to use. The difference between thrid world 'delicacies' and slop is a bit of attitude and a lot of spice.



de RadioRay ..._ ._

 
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

gil

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 12:50:24 PM »
Quote
We would routinely have irrational students who insisted that they did not want to learn snares and traps but only wanted to live off of plants.

That's what McCandless tried to do.. He died. There was no visible game for him to shoot except that moose. He did not trap. My grandfather showed me how to make snares and where to put them. How to wipe them with grass to remove your scent from the wire.. At one point in his life, he had to rely on them for food. Yes, even experts have a hard time. Les Stroud starves in most of his shows, except the "marooned on a tropical island" types where seafood is plentiful. Of course he is alone, no competition. On my last camping trip, in one week, I saw one racoon and one rabbit. Enough for me, but for a group? You'd get a couple bites each. All your energy daily is dedicated to food. The more you walk to find it, the more calories you burn too. My next buy is a few Yoyo automatic fishing reels and traps.

My house is in a so-so neighborhood, a few blocks from a three-letter street name... I hear gunshots at least once a month.. So, it might be necessary for me to move away from that area if things go bad. My best bet would be to head for the nearest river and take it from there. Lots of other people would do the same though, and that is a big concern. My house is also much more comfortable than a tent and can shelter a few useful people. Though call... Florida is not a good state to live off the land.. Possible, yes, but not easy. At least you probably wouldn't freeze to death in the winter..

Not many people do go camping, and when they do, it's in a big RV at a campground.. Sorry, but that's not camping. Camping is setting up camp in the wilderness.. What I did in April was borderline camping for me.. The best experiment would be to go for a week with the least amount of food available, and to be used only as a last resort.. Trying to live off the land. It would be a good way to lose some weight!

Gil.

medic photog

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 08:52:04 PM »
Hence the fifty by fifty foot garden I put in each year.  What I don't eat fresh I can, freeze, dry, pickle.  Problem is it draws attention and I'd most certainly be one of the first hit.  All my neighbors know I have a lot of weapons, none want to find out if I'm willing to use them.  And, I have to say, if you're going to buy or build an assault rife, you better have made your mind up that you'll have no issue using it to defend you and yours from someone you don't know and maybe some you do.  I also have four PLANO cases of MREs, one in the Blazer, one in the garage, two at separate locations elsewhere.  I don't keep all my canned food here either, there's three other locations where it's at.  There's also three Baofeng 5Rs scattered plus three of my friends are involved and each has a set of Motarola GMRS radios and a Baofeng 5R.  We plan on  meeting at a different location then pushing off together to the final destination.  We may hook up with a group of five coming from Jersey along the way or just at the final destination.   The Colonel and I are more or less in charge and we chat on a every other day basis.  We all get together as often as possible, at least every three months.  I do medical, sop does the Colonel.  His people are together since Afghanistan.  My group since the late seventies.  Myself and two others in my group have a lot of woods craft skills, hunting, fishing, trapping, rendering hides and the like.  Everyone has an M4, a 12G riot shotgun and a sidearm or their choice as a minimum.  There are several 7.62 sniper rifles in the bunch with people having the knowledge and ability to use them properly. We even have several black powder big bore hunting rifles.  Hey, they work and can knock a deer down.  I don't know if we'd want to go much bigger than ten, but eight is a good working number and let's us trade off on things as needed plus we can set up one hell of a guarded perimeter with lots of surprises for interlopers and also operate as three teams if needed.     

gil

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2014, 09:12:03 PM »
Medig photog, if the SHTF, I'm walking up to you, just give me about six months  ;)
I'll report every night of the trip on 40m CW.

Gil.

medic photog

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2014, 11:23:33 PM »
Medig photog, if the SHTF, I'm walking up to you, just give me about six months  ;)
I'll report every night of the trip on 40m CW.

Gil.

Sounds fair enough.

cockpitbob

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 08:19:15 AM »
Medig photog, if the SHTF, I'm walking up to you, just give me about six months  ;)
I'll report every night of the trip on 40m CW.

Gil.

Sounds fair enough.
Yeah, if he can survive that trip he's definitely the kind you want in the fox hole with you 8)

gil

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 10:23:15 AM »
Quote
Yeah, if he can survive that trip he's definitely the kind you want in the fox hole with you

Why don't all you guys come down to Florida, it's warmer  8)

Gil.

madball13

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 03:54:13 PM »
Quote
Yeah, if he can survive that trip he's definitely the kind you want in the fox hole with you

Why don't all you guys come down to Florida, it's warmer  8)

Gil.

Snakes and hurricanes, no way.

medic photog

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2014, 08:35:40 PM »
Florida is warmer but the land is up here.  You never know, if we decide the better avenue is to stay mobile for a longer period of time we may just be in your neck of the woods.

RadioRay

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Re: Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2014, 12:24:07 AM »
Gil,

Drop by the house on your walk UP.  We'll feed you the best that we can, and having you pull some security while you rest would be helpful. I just made a big Saag Paneer - Indian styled farm cheese with vegetables, served in the delightfully spiced creamed spinach, cilantro and celery..  Po'Boy chow that is WORTH your time to come to dinner!



It's so delicious that I am going back for thirds. 


73 de RadioRay ..._  ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry