Gathering and Hunting for Food
Someday in a possible future we may be living like we did 150 years ago. No power, no cars. There may not even be that many people left. If you're one of the ones that are left hopefully it's because you had the foresight to prepare. This means you already have a head start on others that didn't, but it may not stay that way for long. As much as I like to believe that most people are basically good, I'm also a realist and know that desperate times will bring out survival instincts and your best friend or even family members may turn on you for that last bit of water or food. Many of you either have a secondary location to escape to or are thinking that you will just go to the "Wilderness" and live like our ancestors did.
What happens when you get to your wilderness location? Some people have months if not years of stockpiled supplies and may be fairly comfortable for a while, but eventually we will have to start hunting and gathering. For the well prepared in a good location you will have a garden with fruit trees. You will go out and hunt for protein. This could mean you have a pond or lake nearby and can fish or game animals that you can hunt. Maybe you have had the foresight to keep chickens, goats, etc. There are some preppers that have an Aquaponics system where they raise fish (Talapia seems to be the best) and grow vegetables in water which filters water for the fish. Problem solved. I don't know about you but I think I would get tired of eating fish everyday so I would want to supplement with other proteins.
This is where hunting comes in. Now we have 22's and an AR so going out and shooting Mr. Bunny or Mrs. Deer would be relativity easy in some areas. The question is, if you are in a survival situation and would like to keep a low profile, shooting a gun may not be the best choice. There are some options for the noise though, you could put silencers on your hunting guns. Some other options that may be better though are learning to use a bow or blowgun. These are relatively silent and if you miss you can most likely recover your errant shot. If you don't own a Bow or know how to shoot one there are usually archery centers near you that you can take lessons and learn about different bows. Shooting a blow gun takes a little practice but it's pretty intuitive and I would be willing to bet that within a couple of hours you would be hitting a 6 inch circle from 40 feet without too much effort. You can buy blow guns and darts for less than $30. Bows can run from $100 up to the thousands depending on what you get.
There is something to be said for buying the best of anything you can afford but in reality if you are just learning a skill you won't get the benefit or notice a difference between a $300 bow and a $1000 bow. I equate it to golf. People that are just learning the game of golf won't benefit from the high end shafts and club heads because they can't hit the ball consistently enough to tell the difference or get the full benefit of them. Why play a $5 golf ball when you are most likely going to lose it and can't tale advantage of the characteristics the more expensive ball can give you. Buy the cheap balls and learn how to hit it consistently before upgrading. Same goes for a Bow. Learn to shoot and be consistent first before upgrading to that more expensive unit. A $150 dollar recurve bow can kill animals just like a $1000 compound bow can. The difference in them is the speed of the arrow and the distance you can shoot and be accurate. If you have a cheaper recurve bow and keep up with practice it will serve you just fine, you might just have to learn to be more stealthy so you can get closer to your prey. Come to think of it, being stealthy is probably a reason you're using a bow in the first place.
You will find many advocates on the internet and in magazines that say you should be practicing your survival skills. To be honest I think they're right but I don't do it. We do go out and shoot the guns periodically and camp periodically but we don't go out to the wilderness, throw on our bug out bags and try and survive for a week with just what we can carry. We've gone for a hike with our packs to check how heavy they are and asses what we could realistically carry but I wouldn't call that practice. Maybe it does kind of fall into that category but only in the loosest sense of the word in my opinion. Why don't I practice? I don't know, maybe no time, other things to do, not overly concerned (why am I prepping then?). All of these are excuses and I do enjoy being out in the woods and desert. I grew up around woods, rivers and camping. I was in the Boy Scouts and learned how to use a compass, build shelters and fires. Learned how to shoot bows and trap. These are all things that I already know. Would I be rusty? Sure I would, but it wouldn't take long to get those skills back or recall how to do something especially if my life depended on it.
Going out and practicing survival skills should be important, and can also be enjoyable. Especially if you have kids. Camping will give them valuable skills and knowledge. It will also show them more of the world other than their cell phone or video games they seem to be constantly glued to. After writing this, I have a renewed sense of needing to practice some of the skills. I think I'll go out and shoot (or watch the football game)