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What is Survival?- Part 3, by MuddyKid

I’ve asked the question, what is survival and am addressing my progress in discovery of solutions from short-term to long-term ones. In the last part, we left off talking about hunting as a survival technique and that not all hunting is the same. Many seem to have the opinion that the “Golden Horde” will strip the land of all flora and fauna and there will be no natural resources. It’s my opinion that this is sci-fi. I explained that not all hunting in the same. Let’s consider some more of my reasons for thinking that hunting will be viable as one means for survival, in certain cases.

Urban Human and Animal Interaction

Another point to consider is the proximity of a hunter to an urban center, or rather how often humans and animals interact. This will have an impact on the animal’s behavior. A suburban deer is going to be much more domesticated than a rural deer. This means a suburban deer could be completely comfortable with allowing a person to casually walk within fifty yards of it. A country deer, on the other hand, will require real skill to stalk within fifty yards of it.

Stalking a Deer

For those of you who can stalk a deer in such a fashion, you can do so because of skill and your understanding of the environment. You are aware of your scent, wind direction, you have no sense of time, and you understand the weather and climatic conditions. (Good luck stalking a deer in the woods during a dry fall season.) You already have an understanding of deer behavior in your hunting area. Most hunters do not have these skills. Some do; most don’t.

Types of Hunters Not a Threat to Subsistence

As an example, I can recall driving past public hunting grounds in which I saw four cars parked in the designated parking spot. (This was a 100-acre hunting spot, for those of you who don’t know. This is pure saturation of an area and hunting will not be good.) A little further past that parking area, I saw three people in their late teens to early twenties walking toward the parking area on the open road with only one gun between the three. It was a Thompson .45 rifle. You could further tell by their clothes, walking style, and the fact that it was 9am that they had no idea what they were doing. (But at least they were trying.) These types of hunters are not a threat to anyone other than themselves, when it comes to subsistence hunting.

Modern Deer Population

Another interesting point is, are you familiar with how many deer are considered a healthy herd in a given square mile? Population size applies to living things beyond deer. So, if you’re interested in elk, as an example, wildlife agencies should have that data. I have done deer surveys with a wildlife department in my region. A healthy herd is considered to be 14 deer or less within a square mile. More than 14, the health of the herd begins to suffer. (In parks in this region, they want the population size closer to 30 for the “oohs and ahhs” of tourist.) During this survey, it was discussed that in suburban areas near larger wooded areas, the deer population can grow to over 200 deer per square mile. As a result of the suburban sprawl, the deer population has no natural predators, an abundance of resources, and they will breed to the point that their health deteriorates and they become sick. Just like I mentioned during the wild edibles section, the local environment absent of the commodity supply line will dictate not just the human diet but also the animals’ diets.

Average Deer Population in 1940s

During this deer survey, I began asking questions about how far back the data went on deer herds per square mile. It was mentioned that data went back to the 1940s for this particular agency and region. The average deer population per square mile during the 1940s was four. The deer population was four because the average person from that region hunted to support their diets. (They knew what they were doing.)

Hunting Has Become a Sport and On the Decline

Today, the numbers are clear. Hunting has become a sport for the vast majority of people, and participation is on the decline. This means that the majority of people do not have a clue how to hunt. The populations of herds are much larger than in the past, because subsistence hunting was substituted for modern agriculture and the grocery store. This is just another example of outsourcing our diet and ability to obtain resources through business. So, the idea that people who do not know how to hunt will be become hunting experts in a grid down situation is like saying someone who owns a gun but never trains will also become a tier-one operator in a grid down situation. Uh…no.

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The Average Deer Hunter

But, let us get back to the average deer hunter. The average deer hunter hunts in the following fashion:

  1. They have access to private land,
  2. They set up feeders that require store-bought feed with cameras monitoring the feed plot,
  3. They set up a tree stand or some sort of blind.

All of the preceding is done weeks or months in advance to deer season. (Make note that the words in italics require money for consumer products that allows the hunt to be easier. Furthermore, I left out the price of the gun, ammo, optic, clothes, et cetera.)


The cameras provide the hunter with information, such as what times of day or evening the deer are coming in to eat from the feeder and how many deer there are. (The cameras only capture a very small view of this process.) This is another technique that again outsources your time and familiarization of the environment through the purchasing of products. And, all this information is only useful during the time of year that the state allows the hunter to hunt.

Once this information is gathered, the average hunter needs to mask their scent (usually with store-bought products). Then, they sneak into the roost on opening day and wait for the deer to come in for breakfast.

The Distance of the Shot

The distance of the shot could be up for debate, but if you’re in a tree-stand, deer have no natural predators in the air, so it’s uncommon for them to look up. This behavior suggests the distance of the shot could be twenty-five yards or less. In my region, the average deer shot with a rifle is one hundred yards or less. These are short distances, even for the novice shooter. I want to be clear here; I have never met a deer hunter that routinely shoots past 200 yards. (If you shoot past 200 yards regularly, high five. Let’s be friends. You’re not an average deer hunter.) However, the point is, hunting in this fashion is fairly easy because of the over dependence upon technology that allows the hunter to have an advantage during the hunt.

Bow Hunting or the Hunter Who Didn’t Have Resources

Bow hunting is even harder! How would the average deer hunter stack up if they didn’t have the resources of land, time for preparation, gadgets, bait, et cetera? They probably wouldn’t stack up very well with their hunt. Also, keep in mind that I am talking about the average hunter who enjoys and has experience with hunting.

Those Relying Solely on Luck

Someone with little-to-no hunting skill is relying solely on luck. The further away the lucky get from urban centers, the more their luck is going to need to increase, because the animals are certainly smarter. Frumping down the road with one .45acp rifle between three people is hysterical. I am not worried about these types of people.

The Average Hunter

But, let us say the average hunter did take a deer. Now what? The average hunter in my region usually cleans the deer, tosses the meat in the freezer, and then drops off the frozen meat at the processor for some summer sausage.

As a reminder, let us be clear on what we consider an average hunter. This is someone who takes a deer every season and has done so for many years. This type of behavior details that absent of a professional butcher, the average deer hunter can have a meal for only a day or two because they have little-to-no understanding on how to preserve meat, absent of modern conveniences.

Without Food Preservation, Stripping Countryside of Resources

As a deer provides a decent amount of meat, if that meat is not preserved properly (again, reference my earlier point of how to render fat), a good percentage of the meat will spoil before it can be consumed. For the people that lack knowledge of food preservation, they are now part of “the golden horde”. I say this because if a person does not efficiently use resources in a survival situation, they are being careless and stripping the countryside of its resources.

Other SurvivalBlog Contributors

For some, hunting, when thought of as a sport, looks to have such a large investment that they do not feel hunting is even worthwhile Other SurvivalBlog contributors say that deer populations will be dramatically reduced

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In response, I question, how do we know this is the case? Just as I have done here in my example, similar to other articles that talk about hunting in a survival situation, have you noticed that we all reference animals that are common to hunt? What about fishing? Frogs? What about snakes?

Snakes and Threats That are Legible

When I search SurvivalBlog for snakes as food, I see search results that primarily deal with snakes as a threat. Rattlesnake taste pretty good. This is another example of how we view food and threats in ways that are legible.

How We Harvest Animals and Wild Edibles

Also, how we harvest animals and even wild edibles is important. If you come across a fruit tree in the wild during the time of year that the fruit is ripe, do you take all of the fruit? Or, do you take just what you need at that moment and return later? If you find hopniss and harvest all of it, the plant will not grow back. My point so far is, how we view the world can be shaped by patterns and processes that reproduce how we value, define and obtain our resources.

More Options

There are more options of food available once we think outside of the box and become more critical. But, to again ask, how do we know what a long-term situation will look like? Check back tomorrow in part 4. And for those of you who do not plan to hunt in a survival situation, thank you. That leaves more for me.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).

Round 77 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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