So when everything goes down, you plan on using your wilderness survival skills to live off the land. Here’s the reality check.
by Leon Pantenburg
I admire and respect people who take the time and effort to learn hunting, foraging and trapping skills to glean sustenance from the wild. That skill level is much beyond what I could ever hope to achieve. But I am an avid hunter and fisherman, and I have learned a few things here and there.
In the early 1980s, I was young, single and lived in Mississippi, along the big river. My weekends were devoted to hunting and fishing, and I did very well.
During my best year, I legally killed two deer, several dozen squirrels and several limits of ducks, probably about 25. I rented a freezer locker for all this meat, and I basically lived off what I had killed.
I also did well fishing, and had a stockpile of bass, crappie and bluegills.
My standard lunch was a gumbo, chowder, stew or jambalaya I made before hand and carried in a thermos. I worked on my wild game recipes, and friends at work joked about the Yankee from Iowa who had moved to Mississippi to “live off the land.”
But even with that experience and success, there was no way I could survive long term, even if I could develop the necessary foraging skills. Best bushcraft knife?
Many times, despite my best efforts, I would get skunked fishing or might miss a shot. I never went hungry because of that, but that would be a different story if I was depending on harvesting my dinner. And even with the best and most efficient equipment, there are times when it seems as if all the game animals have vanished. Or there are days fishing when you can’t buy a bite.
I never got into trapping animals or netting fish, and that would have been an additional way to gather protein. But that is another skill set that would somehow have to be learned.
So when someone comments that he will “just learn to live off the land” as a hunter/gatherer when a disaster or long term emergency hits, I have to shake my head.
Here is an excellent post from Wood Trekker that gives the facts about this idea.
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