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Living Off the Land: Harder Than You Think

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cockpitbob:
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:
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.

gil:
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.

cockpitbob:
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:
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.

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