National Preparedness Month Daily Challenge: Day 16

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  woodsrunner 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #22737


    Today’s challenge is inspired by the course that I took in Croatia with Selco and Toby.

    Yesterday, I asked you what food you could find nearby if the situation had devolved to the point that you’d gone through all your stored food.

    Now, if the situation has devolved that far, you have to also imagine that there is no Rule of Law. It’s the Wild West. Everyone is a threat.

    As Selco said to us, “You think this is hard? Now do it while everyone is trying to kill you.

    When the SHTF in Bosnia, the threats were everywhere. Snipers were shooting civilians from the hilltops when they went to the river to get water. Neighbors were fighting neighbors for their resources. It was mayhem for an entire year. (If you want to delve further into that, you can read about it in Selco’s paperback book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival, which is $5 off for Preparedness Month. Or you can take his course, One Year in Hell to go even deeper.)

    So today’s challenge takes yesterday’s a step further.

    How would you get that nearby food if everyone around was a threat to your life or physical well-being?

    This should be a great conversation.

    Would you go at night? Would you move stealthily and slowly during the day? Go in teams? This thought certainly puts a new twist on things. I really look forward to this conversation!

  • #22749

    I could go at night. I am lucky to live around a lot of wildlife. Would my snares hold is a good question? I have live traps we have use to caught raccoons. I found a mulberry tree that needs attention and talked with dh about it and what we need to do to help it. We have kudzo all around . I have used the leaves in salad s before and dried for tes but have not tried the roots and read that it to is edible.


  • #22754


    I did a bit of research on the Bosnia War before thinking about this topic today. As I don’t see that type of scenario ever happening in my lifetime in America, I have nothing to contribute to the conversation other than to suggest that urban/city life is not the place to be during a complete collapse of law and order culture. I’d also question the value of spending much time on this sort of “end of the world” concern.

  • #22756

    Mama T

    I think there are too many variables. If I was scavenging with possible snipers, i cannot imagine what would have brought that on. I live very rural and cannot imagine a scenario that would cause such extreme action.

  • #22759

    Crow Bar

    Going with the anything is possible mindset, yeah, part of the back is exposed to a hill.
    But the raised bed gardens are mostly covered by trees.
    Same goes for the one pond and the front of the barn.
    Back of the barn, different story.

  • #22761

    Naomi Hodgkin

    In any tense situation, common sense can vanish. A parent might do anything necessary to feed a child/family members even if that same person wouldn’t do anything rash to feed only themselves. It might be comforting (but unrealistic) to think that a natural disaster, riot, terrorist attack, military attack, or martial law situation would not happen to any one of us. These situations can happen in city, suburb, or rural areas so having a few plans in place is a good idea. Personally, I would have to use stealth instead of brawn because I’m pretty tiny. After dark, dressed to blend in with surroundings, and as quietly as possible and, if at all possible, with a partner so you can watch out for each other…as long as the partner is reliable. Beforehand, it would be great to know the surrounding area well so you could move quickly and notice something that is ‘out of place’ and might be dangerous. Practice is important when dealing with any tense/emergency situation.

  • #22763


    I have deer in my yard at daylight most mornings. If I setup a blind/pillbox I could be there before daylight. Course we all know game won’t last long and probably be all gone before I run out of food. I have a pond on my land and could slip out there in the wee hours. I’ve never fished at night. I’m not sure fish would bite before daylight. Anybody know? I’m going to have to go to that pond for water long before I run out of food. I suppose I could do that in the dark too. Oh boy, won’t that be fun in the dark with no light. Anybody know what a decent set of night vision goggles cost these days and where to get them?

  • #22764


    The population here far exceeds the resources. The local ponds will be depleted quick.

    Another thing to keep in mind while looking for properties.

    Best to get in a team, and act fast.

  • #22766


    Some really great answers here!

    This is truly next-level stuff, and you all are right – there are a ton of variables. The Balkan War was basically a civil war because the countries involved all made up Yugoslavia. So it would be similar to different states in the US forming different countries. (Obviously Selco can explain this stuff way better than I.)

    There was one thing that surprised me more than anything else when I went to Bosnia. I expected to see war damage in the cities. But when we were driving around rurally, every structure I saw that would have been standing in the early 1990s had the marks of war on them. Not most. ALL. Barns. Homes up on mountains. Homes tucked away on side roads in the country. Businesses. Factories.

    Most of the buildings there are made of stone. A lot were able to take a hit from shelling and remain standing. Many had holes in the stone made from high caliber weapons. (And if I’m not using the right terms for the weapons, please forgive my poor description.)

    To give it a face here in the United States, imagine if your state and two others all went to war with each other. Imagine you are further divided by your political beliefs and some people in your state have the beliefs of one of the other states. Now imagine you are divided even more by your religious beliefs and that each state has populations in each religion.

    Then imagine that things are so bad that there are no utilities, no stores, no police, and no hospital.

    Think about this in terms of the people actively fighting being the most far-right ultra-conservative white supremacists versus the most far-left ultra-liberal Antifa-types.

    You belong to neither of these groups. You know that extremism of any type is wrong and dangerous. But these people don’t care. To them, anyone not like them is the enemy or is disposable.

    So as these dissenting factions make their way through the countryside on whatever their missions are, maybe scavenging for food or supplies, are rural areas still safe?

    Yes, it’s an extreme situation. It’s a thought exercise for one day out of 30. And I think it’s really important to consider the extreme situations. If you were really at the point where you were having to go out and find food like we talked about yesterday, there will really be people who are desperate. And desperate people are dangerous.

    • #22790


      I can see that adjacent red and blue states might be at war but it seems unlikely that adjacent states of the same predominate political persuasion would be at war.

      What you describe would a siege or maybe all out chaos.  Better to just stay indoors for a couple of months until many/most people die off. Food wouldn’t be a problem unless you had to go outdoors to cook it. You could setup an above ground pool in your garage for water storage. Replenish with rainwater capture. Make sure you have enough plastic bags for your honey bucket. Heat and cooling would be a problem during the wrong time of year. Of course something like this would only happen in winter or hot summer.

  • #22768

    Farm Girl

    Yes, going at night would be the best option.  Will have to look into night vision goggles.  We can put a garden in the back of our house where it would be less noticable, but it also does not get much sun.  So, we may need to cut down a tree or two if we go that route.  We back up to woods, where the forestry people cut down a bunch of logs/trees, so we could maybe forage during the day.  Problem would be its pretty dense in there, not a whole lot grows without sunshine!

  • #22777

    Jessee Jones

    I would absolutely have to go at night. I do have a night vision scope which will help some. There is apples, spices, and a water source close. Also greens such as poke, clover, dandelion and herbs not too far away. The chickens are also close. I am not good at “stealthy” so I will add this to the practice list. I am out in the country and quite rural. The raised garden beds are just beside the front porch. There would have to be some changes for me to continue to survive.

  • #22779


    Stealth mainly.  Mostly at night and blend in in dark clothing.  Often by myself or with trusted family member who could be quiet.  Some nights are very dark (no light pollution or very little).  I can look up and see a gazillion stars but hardly see where I’m going.  Sometimes in broad daylight and share something plentiful or barter with it.

    I already have kind of a reputation for knowing what is what for medicine and making and sharing salves etc.  I would keep a very low profile publicly and be grey but grey with an advantage knowing about plants.  Family member knows amimal lore (don’t know how to explain that any better) and another who has taken survival courses and is a mcgiver.  So among close people we have a number of talents or interests that can compensate one another.

    Just thought of another food nearby- marsh marigolds in spring.  MIL used to eat them every year.


  • #22780

    OldMt Woman

    Our house is situated half way up the side of a quite steep ridgeline. Creek/pond/pasture at bottom. Then road. Then the other side of the valley goes steeply up that ridge. Not as high as our side. Unless we’re on good terms with neighbors, it would be very hard to move around unless in deep woods. Would have to create barricades around the house exits. Have one protected exit under porch. And certainly make changes to windows.

    In the arid West….we are encouraged to clear cut for several yards all around buildings….for wildfire safety. Such as: Trees within 30′ from house should be spaced at least 18′ apart AND branches need to be trimmed 6′ – 10′ up. We don’t entirely have that.

    Just for grins, I have practiced being out of sight of overhead aircraft. We seem to have a lot of that…planes and helicopters and you can hear them coming. Step under nearest tree, near trunk. Red/orange/yellow have never been my favorite colors to wear.

    Trying to even access our pond for water would be doable but the energy expenditure would be horrid. I’m thinking ….a concealed garden hose and device to get a siphon going….or suction by mouth (yuk)…would be needed. It wouldn’t be a long hose cuz there is concealment nearby. Not cover. Not sure even a siphon device would handle the ‘lift’ for a hose all the way up to the house. Likely that ‘lift’ would be done manually with hands/feet.

    There is no one on the ridge between us and cattails. But it’s rough, leg-breaking terrain. I’ve walked these ridges for decades and ….on my good days…can safely navigate them. ‘Course I’ve never had anyone aiming at me either. I sure would not want to be mistaken for a deer…even by “friendly” neighbors. Brown would be a bad color choice, I guess.  Have to make some “cheat gates” in the perimeter barbed wire fences.  Have one.

    We would have to attempt growing some food in odd patches of sun in the woods. Dig out the granite crumbles and put in ‘soil’. Very labor intensive. Potatoes/onions/garlic…folks might not know what the plant looks like. Currently, our garden areas are right by the road. Only flat spot. Only spot with “soil”.

    Main meat supply…those pasture varmints. Can use an air rifle …but then to fetch them in the open pasture….might have to go back out after dark to get them. On a clear night, would have to watch for when moon is not present. Stupid fox might go snatch our food before we can reach it….but air rifle could nail him too. Could use an in-tunnel trap…and secure the trap very well or the fox could carry off it’s prize and our trap! BTDT!

    It is so AWFULLY QUIET out here unless the wind is blowing. Wind would cover an air rifle noise. I’ve never quite been successful with a sling shot. Close tho. I’d need wind to cover noise from just crunching around on these rocks too. So it would be fortunate that we have that wind most days and some nights. Rarely at dusk/dawn. OTOH….wind would cover the noise of someone coming up on us too….

    No one’s having any fun living in these type of scenarios, are they? 🙁


  • #22782


    With any night time stuff would depend who held advantage.  Would not do it against a foe with Nv and you with nothing except In direst or circumstances at that point killing sentry for gear up grade would be on thetask list.


    • Without leaving property we pretty much have it all. Around us is thick woods unless trained for this type of enviroment it is dangerous ground for regular troops. Force multipliers are hampered radio is spoty. Lots of broken ground with high angle escape areas without alot of heavy close air support this place is a nightmare to fight in expecially winter with weeks of -40c and months of -30c . There is only water and farmland with rail and hwy which are 10 miles away. On other side of massive fast and cold river .5 km across  and u swimmable without wetsuit and some serious training it is hypothermia in 40c above weather in 2 mins.

    The roads out here are dirt and you can film a off road 4×4 clip for trucks. 4 bridges from village each at a nasty choke point. This year so bad with rain hunters don’t even try road.


    As for getting around the property has swales and drainage ditches with crazy steep sides covered in thorn plants 100 foot vertical at 70 degree angle. At top there is a natural thorn rows and worse  we know where you would best scout from and have contigency plans and drill run and in place our version of paintball.

  • #22783

    Dala Barnes

    I was at a wedding yesterday so I missed the challenge. I did give it some thought though.

    We live rural so we have fish, deer, tree rats up the wazoo, and opossum. The deer and opossum could be baited. Opossum LOVE dry cat food. Although we are rural we do have neighbors that would all be trying for the same resources. Some of the closer neighbors would probably band together for protection and co-workers. They know I garden but not my ‘other hobby’. OPSEC and all that. Some protein hunting during the day and night. Greens I would need to really brush up on. I would need to do this during the day for easier identification.

    This really is a thinking challenge that will require several discussions with Duh on how to proceed with different scenarios.

  • #22787

    Joseph Cartwright

    I see making forays into wooded areas as “fire teams” of 4 people who are each armed and skilled in defense and hunting. Two could be hunting food while the other two defend their position watching for encroachers who would seek to bring harm.

  • #22788

    I would wait and go when it felt safer, IF it ever did.  I would not shoot anyone just so I could eat.  There may come a time when we have to just face death.  I have no fear of dying because I am a spiritually reborn new creation in Christ and my spirit is secure in Him.  I cannot take another person’s life over me eating or not eating because if they are not in Christ, their destination would not be pleasant.  I would just try to be stealthy but if someone threatened me, I would use words, not weapons.

  • #22794

    Pony Maroni

    Figured out a while back that there is safety in numbers, and God has put us in a place where we have been able to develop community. All here are on board with working together, and we have discussions revolving around how to handle hypothetical situations.

    When things become absolutely desperate, I feel reasonably confident that the majority of the group will rise to the occasion. We will form teams based on abilities and needs, and move forward from there.

  • #22798

    Livingthe Dream

    I would have to be stealthy and go out at night.  I live in the suburbs and there’s not a lot here to forage for.  My best bet is to up my food storage.

  • #22807

    Crow Bar

    Was thinking this one over while out with the livestock.

    For me, most of my community is pretty easy going, and respectful of each other.
    I would like to think we would have a community meeting at the town hall, form a lose neighbor hood watch/security/even call it a local militia where if someone is in trouble, everyone comes running. Could be the new voluntary fire fighting company.
    Do random patrols to keep a Bosnia like situation from happening.

    I do think people will tend to gather based off of differing aspects: Could be race, religion, socio-economic class, even politics.
    Problem is, as Daisy mentioned, what if we had a situation where it did fall along political lines, and you just so happen to live in an area that is of the opposite ideology? Keep your head down? Try to make a run for an area controlled by your “kind?”
    I am not of the “shoot first, ask questions later,” kind. But if I see someone beating up on my elderly neighbors, yeah, I am going to shoot.

  • #22818

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Most of the plants I mentioned yesterday are in my yard. Well, my 29 acres, off a country road and up a hill. Most people would not visit us. For those that do, I doubt they would know which plants to harvest. They might even harvest the white snakeroot and then there would be fewer competitors.


    I agree with Joseph Cartwright. Teams in the woods would be important. While we can harvest the deer and turkey, most likely Hubby will use the pellet gun and go after the squirrels. I don’t think we can call ourselves trappers since we cannot trap the critter that is eating my cabbage. Our young neighbor bow hunts and will share with us and we will share our vegetable garden with them. We know that already; especially, since they know I Can. They don’t have a vegetable garden and I would need to triple the one we have to take care of year-around food for both families. I doubt we could survive being vegetarians with just green beans.


    To fish, Hubby would have to take a walk before dawn to accomplish this. In one direction we must cross a major country road. To get to the trout stream it would be down that road or trespass through many farms. I know of one guy who made his own rain-fed pond. He did not put in any plants or fish, but after a couple years both were present. If it were possible to develop a pond, that would be an idea.

    The young neighbors were raised on farms, although they are not farming now and have no fields.  We were not. I am sure there would be a quick learning curve, but I would hope to get some laying hens from a different neighbor. There are fields next to us, 3/4 mile off the country road and owned by farmers ten miles away, that I would expand into if I knew there was no gasoline or they would not able to utilize it.

    It would be easy to build an outhouse.

    We have a south facing porch, and plenty of old windows that I would use to make an attached greenhouse.  Just have not done this yet. Winter here is brutal and we would need to find a way to keep the greenhouse warm .

    I guess, all in all…I would not leave my property.

  • #22828

    Mama cando

    Got wrapped up in getting the laundry done yesterday before our guest arrived. We would have to go “foraging”  at night when everyone has gone to sleep if that was even possible. I live in a subdivision and am pretty sure no one around here is taking steps to be prepared. Like Living, I have to up the food,water and garden preps. Still trying to convince DH to Agriscape the place, grow food that looks like ornamentals, etc.Disguise what we’re growing but I fear we won’t be able to produce what we need in sufficient quantities.

  • #22840

    Crusher 1

    I couldn’t decide where I wanted the garden this year, so it ended up being a potted garden on the back deck- not visible from the road.  There are a tomatoes and peppers still coming in.  We currently have dandelions and clover in the front & back yards and in the pastures.  The acorns haven’t started falling yet, but I researched what needs to be done to make them edible, and WOW it’s a long process!  I think we’d be out of luck during the winter, so I did a little research about what would grow best inside during the winter.

    During the summer we have wild raspberries and a Saskatoon berry bush  as well as potted raspberries, blueberries, and everbearing strawberries on the back porch (assuming they all make it through their first winter).  Lots of deer in the area, but those could be scared off quickly if everyone started shooting at them.  We have a live trap that we usually put in the breezeway between the barn and the next building when we need to get rid of a varmint.

  • #22841

    JD Darling

    My neighbors and I cooperatively farm the low area between us, everything is screened from the road and can be covered from the houses. I also have necessary equipment and experience to hunt at night.

  • #22857


    I believe I would try and go early in the morning , but situations change constantly   Every day the threat would need to be reassessed,  and decisions made.

  • #22871


    Some really great answers here. You guys have inspired me to write about this topic.

  • #22904


    Still thinking about this one.  I’m thinking of permaculture and garden plants hiding in plain sight.  Thinking of having a garden that looks like a garden so that most people would think that’s it, but making other plantings that are not so easy to spot.  Also plant edible weeds that most people would have no idea you could eat (but not have it looking like a garden.  Time to collect weed seeds is now.

    Also kind of have the same idea as crowbar- in this area some people could band together at least to some extent and help one another- have group meetings to solve group problems but still not let everyone know everything, only very trusted few.  This place is sparsely populated enough that we all know who the nuts and most of the problem people are.  Of course in times like that difficult, ordinary people can become problem people.  Everywhere drugs are prevalent and a lot of people think the world owes them a living- a lot of that here too.

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