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Prepping For SHTF

Surviving a Long Term Disaster

As Hank Williams Jr. said in the song “A Country Boy Can Survive”, I have a shotgun, a rifle, a 4 wheel drive and country boy can survive. I can plow a field, I can catch catfish from dusk to dawn, aint too many things these boys cant do, a country boy can survive.

To some people the lyrics of “A Country Boy Can Survive” are just that, lyrics. To others, its a way of life.

Awhile back I read a survey that said the average U.S. citizen is at least 2 – 3 generations removed from farm life.  Some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation sets in, people are forced to return to rural life, 2 – 3 generations is a lot of relearning.

How many urban dwellers have ran a trotline?

How many urban dwellers have skinned a deer?

How many urban dwellers hunt and fish from dawn to dusk?

How many urban dwellers have access to rural land where they can setup a Bug Out Location?

People that currently raise at least part of their food supply will have a unique advantage over those that are unfamiliar with raising and gathering their on food.


Even a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time.  One of the things about hunting is being at the right place and at the right time.  With those things in mind, an urban dweller could very possibly make a trip to the woods, kill a deer, bring it back home, and then what?  Will there be a way to cook or smoke the meat?  What happens when the family eats the deer?  Where is their next meal coming from?

Wild pigs taken off a hunting lease in Southeast Texas

Sooner or later the fuel is going to run out from driving out of the city and back.

When heading to the woods to look for a place to hunt, chances are you are going to run into other people doing the exact same thing.

One of the big questions, where would you hunt?  Are you on a hunting lease, do you own land, do you have a friend that owns land?  Do you have a safe place to hunt where you are not going to be running into other people?

Then there are the safety issues.  There is a reason why you are supposed to wear blaze orange on public hunting lands.  Desperate and hungry people will shoot at anything that moves.

Fishing After SHTF

How many urban dwellers have access to fishing gear?  Fishing has been part of human history for tens of thousands of years.  Everyone should know the very basics of fishing – bait a hook, and wait for a fish to bite.

Catfish caught on jugline

As with everything else in life, there is a difference between theory and practical application. The same thing goes with fishing.  There is a difference in thinking you know how to fish, and getting out on the water and catching some fish.

One of the big benefits of fishing, as compared to hunting, you can bait up several lines and have dozens of hooks out at one time. With hunting, its you and the other members of your party.

For bartering, would you rather trade bullets or hooks? Fishing supplies are and ideal barter item. Hooks, sinkers, corks, fishing line,, never expire. As long as the fishing supplies are stored in a cool dry place, they should last for decades.

During a long term SHTF survival situation, fishing might be a better option then hunting. Fishing can deliver a steady supply of fresh meat and in smaller portions then taking something like a hog or deer. When you take a deer, you have a rather large animal that needs to be processed. With a fish, you have something a small family can eat in one setting and with very little waste.

Gardening After SHTF

Like fresh veggies and fruit? Well, do not expect the grocery stores to be open during a disaster. The employees of the stores have families they will be looking after. Never forget, when the trucks stop rolling, the food supply comes to an end.

If you want fresh fruits and veggies after TEOTWAWKI, you are going to either have to barter or grow your own.

Remember what we said about using fishing supplies for barter material? Maybe someone growing corn can use some hooks and line? If you have some chickens, maybe you can trade eggs for spinach or squash?

Growing our own food as sustained mankind for thousands of years, there is no reason to change now.

Have some room in your flower bed?  then you can grow stuff like radishes and spinach.

Related articleStockpiling Seeds

Have a corner in the backyard not being used?  Plant a fruit tree.  If you can grow fig trees in your area, the figs can be eaten raw or used to make preserves.

Peas and beans can be dried for storage over the winter.  Squash and Zucchini can be eaten raw and are jam packed full of nutrients.

Farming After SHTF

As started earlier, most people are at least 2 – 3 generations removed from farm life.  If people are forced to abandon urban life  and return to a rural lifestyle, 2 – 3 generations is a lot of relearning.  People will have to relearn how to raise crops, store food, raise farm animals,,, etc.

Consider raising chickens as part of your long term survival plans

Consider raising chickens as part of your long term survival plans

If you think farm life is easy, my wife and I spent 2 weekends building a chicken coop, and another weekend building the run on the coop.

As with anything else in life, raising chickens was harder then it sounded.  The last time I had chickens was in the late 1980s.  Over the past quarter century I had forgotten a lot of details, details I am having to relearn.

The last time I had chickens I also had rabbits.  Lets just say I had a terrible experience with rabbits.  Every time a doe had baby rabbits, the doe would eat its babies.  I do not know what I was doing wrong.  Lets just say I got tired of seeing headless baby rabbits, so I butchered all of my rabbits.

Opposite the bunnies, the chickens produced eggs on a regular basis.

One of the major drawbacks to livestock, the farm animals are susceptible to diseases and predators.

When I had chickens back in the late 1980s, something was getting into the coop at night and killing the chickens.  The predator would pull the chickens head out of a hole in the coop and then chew the head off. One night I caught the predator leaving the coop, a 12 gauge shotgun with #4 shot took care of the problem. Come to find out, it was a mink getting into the coop. All the mink needed was a 2 – 3 inch hole to get in and out of the chicken coop.

Good thing the mink only killed the chickens one at a time. Other predators will kill the whole flock. The first set of chicks I got back around 1988, they were kept in a cage in a storage shed. Something reached through the wire and killed 3 or 4 chicks.  I set a trap outside the shed and caught a opossum.


Some kind of disaster has happened, you and your family have moved to the Bug Out Location, you open a #10 can of chili mac,,, and now what? What are your plans on cooking that the bug out location?

Cinder block grill at bug out location

In other words, the SHTF, and now what? How do you plan on cooking at your bug out location?

You the time to stockpile hundreds of pounds of rice and beans in mylar bags, you have hundreds of #10 cans, but without a way to boil water and cook, all of those food preps are almost useless.

After Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike, one of my neighbors used their outdoor propane grill to cook with. In about a week, they had gone through several 20 pound propane bottles. While I was looking at the pile of propane bottles around my neighbors deck, I started wondering what they would do if the disaster lasted months, instead of a couple of weeks. After Hurricane Rita my family went 18 days without power. During that time we used a camp stove and my wood pit to cook with.

Wood Stoves and grills:

Wood stoves and grills come in a wide variety of sizes, features and prices. Just about any major retail outlet store will have a wood grill in stock during the summer months. Some of the grills designed for charcoal can be used with wood when charcoal is not available.

In an effort to prepare my family for a total collapse, I took the time to build myself a large pit with a built on smoker. The cooking surface of the main pit is 6 feet 9 inches long and 29 inches across.

The main reason for making a pit this large, is so that I can cook a whole hog, or a deer at a single time. Lets say that my family is running low on food, someone brings a hog into camp, we can cook the hog in a single sitting and everyone can have a feast.

My pit started out as a 250 gallon butane tank, and a 150 gallon air tank. The 150 gallon tank was cut into 2 sections – one section became the smoker, and one section became the firebox. The smoker has 2 trays which are 24 inches in diameter, the firebox is 2 feet 6 inches long and and 24 inches in diameter.

Safe Drinking Water – Life as we know it can not exist without safe drinking water.  One of the more complex issues facing civilized man is access to safe drinking water during a long term disaster.

Safe drinking water is one of the complex issues facing civilized man

Safe drinking water is one of the complex issues facing civilized man

Over the past 50 years the population has moved from rural areas where people used wells, to the cities where water is supplied by a municipality.  Most people turn on the faucet with little regard to what the water has gone through to make it safe to drink.

If you want to see society return to the middle ages, take away three things – electricity, water and the grocery store.

We can live without electricity.  It is one of those things that makes our makes our modern lives comfortable, but it is not essential.

Opposite electricity is water.  Without water there is no life.  In one way or another everything on planet earth revolves around water.

Water is a double edged sword.  We have to have it to live, but water also transmits harmful pathogens.  If you do not drink water, you dehydrate and die.  If you drink contaminated water, you get sick and die.

During a long term disaster we will have two options – have a source of safe drinking water, such as from a water well, or make the safe to drink through filtration and purification.

There are so many good quality water filters on the market, it would be almost impossible to point at one and say “that is what you need to buy”.

Who says you even need to buy a filter?  Why not get some 55 gallon plastic drums and build a slow sand filter?  A slow sand filter can take 2 weeks to develop its biofilm layer.

For my family and I, we have a Royal Berkey water filter at the Bug Out Location.  I have 4 black filters that go into the Berkey.  Each filter provides an estimated 3,000 gallons of safe drinking water.  Those 4 filters should be able to provide an estimated 12,000 gallons of safe drinking water.

Having a Bug Out Plan

For you urban dwellers, what are you going to do when your stockpile of food runs out?  Long term survival plans should include 4 things – food, water, shelter and security.

When the food runs out, people will be forced out of the cities in search for food.  Once the exodus begins, the vast majority will have no idea where they are going of what they are doing.

Do you know anyone that owns land in a rural location?  A place where you and your family can grow crops and raise livestock in peace?  Somewhere the roaming hoards will not easily find you?


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