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Prepper Sustainability: How to Observe and Monitor Local Game

I have written a few articles here and there on the benefits of hunting [1], as well as some firearms [2]for you to consider.  There is a good reason for becoming proficient in hunting.  You must eat, and you must feed your family.  Sometimes it’s the small things…the small details that lead to success in the larger, bigger picture.  In order to be proficient with hunting, you need to learn about your quarry.

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Why is this important?  Because in a grid-down, SHTF situation [4], you’re going to need to eat, and you probably will not be able to grow everything you need or raise all the livestock you will use to support the family.  The blending of agriculture and animal husbandry is not complete until you have also learned to become a hunter-gatherer when need be.  Our Revolutionary forefathers supplemented the meat slaughtered at the happy butchers with meat they shot in the woods.

So, how do you learn about your quarry?  There are lots of different ways.  The library is replete with books and videos on every subject from deer to migratory birds, from field care and butchering wild game to the habits of game animals.  No, what I’m referring to here is to take the time and do a study of your immediate area and/or the closest woods to your home.

A notebook needs to be compiled with your observations.  It is not hunting season, and there are plenty of deer and other game animals to observe and learn about.  Finding the deer trails means finding where the deer go in the normal course of the day to forage and to drink.  Learning where the squirrels can be found, where the pheasants bed down for the night, and where aquatic birds such as ducks and geese can be found are some keys.  By observing them, you also have to maintain your silence and mask your scent…so you’re training while you’re observing them: you’re practicing your stealth and masking your presence.

You need to find out where your predators are: black bear, bobcat, and so forth.  Remember, when you hunt for game, you’re competing with them.  In a survival situation, you may also have to rely on them for a food source.  It would behoove you to map out your area.  Use existing maps and either trace them out and create a whole new map or make an overlay where you can mark important points where you find them.  When you see groups of deer, try to identify them as a unit and as individuals.  You may have “group 1” that has a couple of bucks and does, and two fawns.

This Group 1 may be identified because one of the bucks is missing one antler, or another has a limp.  This is all fieldcraft, and it can pay off because in a SHTF situation, you’re not the only one who’s going to be hunting the wild game.  Give yourself the edge of knowing what is in your area and their regular feeding and watering times.  It will take time, but you can practice a boatload of other tasks as well and boost your training.  Learn to document exactly where they are moving, what they are doing, and the times.

Soon you’ll have a collection of notes that you can rely upon to gauge the habits of these animals.  For birds: knowing their haunts can lead to learning about where they nest and where they bed down for the night.  This can yield eggs in addition to meat.  Where the ducks and geese are feeding, the chances are this is a good area for fishing, as well.  As you gather information, you will be painting a picture…similar to a documentary…on their habits and activities.  Supplement this with watching what they do.

Watch what they eat, and familiarize yourself with these local plants.  You’ll also want to be aware of how many people frequent these areas.  Other people will be your competition for hunting wild game in a collapse-scenario.  Use a compass and map, and have exact locations described in detail.  Why?  Here’s why.

The scenario: we suffer a collapse, and in the course of things, you develop an infection and are going to die.  You’re leaving behind a wife and two kids, boy and a girl.  “Standard fare,” right?  Now, if you don’t document where all of this wild game is, how are they going to hunt for themselves while you’re in the backyard under a headstone?  That journal with all the habits and haunts of that wild game can benefit them and give them a better chance.

So, Springtime is here.  Go out and get yourself some good training [5] by hiking around and following the wild game and migratory birds.  Learn about your backyard, and it just may be that someday (if your notes are good) the information may benefit you or benefit others who rely on you if you’re not around.  Let’s hope that latter is not the case.  Keep in that good fight, and fight it to win.  JJ out!