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Is hunting a way to make homesteading viable?  RSS feed

 
Michael Cox
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Benton Lewis wrote:
... and farming is a negative calorie input, if trying to grow enough to survive on without utilizing oil.


Farming sustained humanity for thousands of years before oil was used, so this statement is clearly false. Your diet may be rather bland, and your focus might be on calorie dense and easy to grow foods, but it is definitely possible.

Furthermore, it makes the assumption that any use of energy other than human power is in some way "wrong". I would argue that judicious use of fossil fuels - for example in a period of initial landscaping to get the swales and terraces constructed, is an excellent investment.
 
Wes Hunter
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Mark Tudor wrote:Hunting and fishing are both "bonus" resources in modern day USA, and you can't rely on them for food in a consistent manner. Remote homesteads might do better, because they are remote and not the norm. But as mentioned before if everyone were doing it like in a SHTF scenario, most of the deer and elk and bears, oh my, would be wiped out in the first year.


I don't quite understand this line of thinking.  In a real SHTF scenario, wouldn't there still be lots of cattle and sheep and goats and whatnot still reproducing?  In other words, would there even be a need for all these people to go out and hunt, when they could go out and shoot a steer instead?  It's not as though overall food requirements would increase, requiring everyone to head off to the woods and mountains, right?

Another thing to consider regarding the suitability of a large number of people hunting in a "survival" situation is the case of the cottontail.  I believe that something like 75% of rabbits die before they reach one year of age, from all sorts of causes.  Hunting--accepting the fact that rabbit hunters are a dying breed--just doesn't seem to really affect rabbit populations; most rabbits are dying before hunters ever get a chance at them.  So even if a whole lot of people honed their skills took to the briar patches and killed a large number of rabbits (likely out of current seasons), it's possible they wouldn't greatly impact available supply, as long as adequately breeding stock is left. 
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Wes Hunter wrote:
Mark Tudor wrote:Hunting and fishing are both "bonus" resources in modern day USA, and you can't rely on them for food in a consistent manner. Remote homesteads might do better, because they are remote and not the norm. But as mentioned before if everyone were doing it like in a SHTF scenario, most of the deer and elk and bears, oh my, would be wiped out in the first year.


I don't quite understand this line of thinking.  In a real SHTF scenario, wouldn't there still be lots of cattle and sheep and goats and whatnot still reproducing?  In other words, would there even be a need for all these people to go out and hunt, when they could go out and shoot a steer instead?  It's not as though overall food requirements would increase, requiring everyone to head off to the woods and mountains, right?


Depends on where you live.  There are lots of deer, and a few Javalina and Antelope where I live, but very few sheep and cattle.  I would expect the sheep and cattle would go first because: a) not a lot of them and b) they are caged up in fences they obviously have trouble escaping.  

OTH I would expect in an actual SHTF scenario that the human population would also drop fairly rapidly.  Whether that happened before or after the wildlife was depleted would be the real question.

Regardless, I certainly wouldn't recommend making any survival plans that 'depends' on hunting for anything other than an occasional supplement.  If your survival depends on hunting food, then there is a better than even chance you won't survive.
 
Mark Tudor
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Wes Hunter wrote:
Mark Tudor wrote:Hunting and fishing are both "bonus" resources in modern day USA, and you can't rely on them for food in a consistent manner. Remote homesteads might do better, because they are remote and not the norm. But as mentioned before if everyone were doing it like in a SHTF scenario, most of the deer and elk and bears, oh my, would be wiped out in the first year.


I don't quite understand this line of thinking.  In a real SHTF scenario, wouldn't there still be lots of cattle and sheep and goats and whatnot still reproducing?  In other words, would there even be a need for all these people to go out and hunt, when they could go out and shoot a steer instead?  It's not as though overall food requirements would increase, requiring everyone to head off to the woods and mountains, right?

Another thing to consider regarding the suitability of a large number of people hunting in a "survival" situation is the case of the cottontail.  I believe that something like 75% of rabbits die before they reach one year of age, from all sorts of causes.  Hunting--accepting the fact that rabbit hunters are a dying breed--just doesn't seem to really affect rabbit populations; most rabbits are dying before hunters ever get a chance at them.  So even if a whole lot of people honed their skills took to the briar patches and killed a large number of rabbits (likely out of current seasons), it's possible they wouldn't greatly impact available supply, as long as adequately breeding stock is left. 


True that rabbits breed like rabbits and are tougher to hit. I figure we have tens of millions of people in the US with guns, and if there was some massive collapse (which I doubt will ever happen) and people aren't being paid, most of our meat is grown in industrial farms and those animals not taken home by workers would die in the first week or two from lack of food and water. Deer populations are managed by hunting during certain times, with limits on culling. When I'm driving near forest edge I see deer now and then. Keeping a rifle on me at all times during our zombie apocalypse would make it easy to stop and shoot, and everyone would do it. It would result in a deer population collapse, and there just wouldn't be enough to rely on for regular food.

Far more likely would be that a person would set snares to catch some of those rabbits, and start breeding them for food and fur. A person can raise rabbits in an apartment or garage, it's just a matter of food and water access. On a homestead like the OP was looking at it would be easy enough to raise chickens and rabbits, plus all the greens they need to grow. Or a person can hunt rabbits, get a good little terrier to pull them from the burrows. We used to do that when I was little, those stout little tails on the dog were bred to be a handle to pull the dog out while it holds on to the rabbit. 
 
David Livingston
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You could always build a deer park
That's an area the deer can get into but not out of . When you need a deer you just choose one if you don't need one you just let the deer out

David
 
Travis Johnson
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Domestication actually takes some time. I say that because there was a fad a few years ago where people in Maine would take Black Tail Deer (our native deer is White Tail Deer) and they quickly got Chronic Wasting Disease (Jonnies in Cattle) and quickly died off.

Another interesting thing I have noted is that hunting will indeed knock out deer rather quickly. As mentioned in a previous post, due to our cold climate here and very short growing season and poor soil, the Amish were reluctant to come to Maine. When high land costs almost forced them here, I noticed the deer population in town plummeted. I cannot blame them, they are often feeding families of 12, and twenty families or so have drastically reduced the deer population in the last 5 years. According to the Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, that should be the opposite; deer populations in Maine are on the rise. Not here!

Overall farming just gives a homesteader more food per acre. There are many ways to do that according to preference of palate. If a person was all vegetarian they could do even better, but with a mix of pasture, hay and gardening (and even greenhouses), a homesteader could do well with meat and veggies. Getting that on the least acres is important; property taxes always have to be paid, and while some days I wish I had my neighbors 3200 acres of land, there is never a day I wish I had his tax bill. So just having more land is NOT the answer, making the most of what a person does have is! And even if I had his tax bill I could not afford it. And as many people have found out, hunting access one year may not extend to the next if the neighboring land owner decides they no longer want it hunted upon, or if the land is sold to someone who doesn't allow it. So I would never want my calorie intake for me or my family to depend on a fickle neighbor. NEVER...and I get along great with my neighbors, for now anyway. Tomorrow...who knows.
 
Marcus Billings
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Wes Hunter wrote:
Mark Tudor wrote:Hunting and fishing are both "bonus" resources in modern day USA, and you can't rely on them for food in a consistent manner. Remote homesteads might do better, because they are remote and not the norm. But as mentioned before if everyone were doing it like in a SHTF scenario, most of the deer and elk and bears, oh my, would be wiped out in the first year.


I don't quite understand this line of thinking.  In a real SHTF scenario, wouldn't there still be lots of cattle and sheep and goats and whatnot still reproducing?  In other words, would there even be a need for all these people to go out and hunt, when they could go out and shoot a steer instead?  It's not as though overall food requirements would increase, requiring everyone to head off to the woods and mountains, right?

Another thing to consider regarding the suitability of a large number of people hunting in a "survival" situation is the case of the cottontail.  I believe that something like 75% of rabbits die before they reach one year of age, from all sorts of causes.  Hunting--accepting the fact that rabbit hunters are a dying breed--just doesn't seem to really affect rabbit populations; most rabbits are dying before hunters ever get a chance at them.  So even if a whole lot of people honed their skills took to the briar patches and killed a large number of rabbits (likely out of current seasons), it's possible they wouldn't greatly impact available supply, as long as adequately breeding stock is left. 


Wow, this thread has really gone a lot of places! Wes, while I agree that the OP would be best served by becoming familiar with some of the many great books on these subjects that have been discussed, I think Mark's conclusion in his post is spot on.  Considering the current three day supply chain that most of the food systems in the US work on, I don't think it would take long to eliminate domestic livestock.  If we are talking a SHTF situation that is not localized and not just for a couple of days, the millions of people in the cities and suburbs will probably waste little time in over running commercial livestock farms.  And I suspect that they will not give much thought to future animal husbandry if they are hungry at that moment.  Our just in time supply chain is a very scary operation when you look at it closely. 

As for over-hunting and animal population, I would refer you to the whitetail deer.  By 1900, most whitetail deer in the eastern US were extinct do primarily to hunting with no oversite.  I could also point to the eastern elk, black bear in many states, forest bison, wolves, etc.  And that was with a bunch of black powder muskets without rifled barrels.  The whitetail population has only been brought back by regulations and imported deer.  In a SHTF situation, I don't think many people will be adhering to the "regulations".  And yes, I think this would apply to rabbits as well if the wal-marts and other markets could not fill their shelves and the 300 million people in the US decided they wanted to eat them.  The mass of humanity is very imposing!
 
Wj Carroll
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See about minute 55... 
 
Benton Lewis
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I have a hunch the population has outgrown the wild animal and fish supply due to the population boom caused by oil so that if everyone hunted and fished the populations would deplete quickly; however, its a good supplement and depending on location, a small number of individuals might could get by as long as too many people don't try to depend on hunting and fishing wild game.
 
Travis Johnson
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We had an interesting thing happen here in 1998; we got hit with the Ice Storm of 1998 and with it was 4 inches of ice. needless to say things were a real mess, being without power for 14 days. That was not what I found interesting though. For the first four days or so everything went pretty good, everyone worked together, people cut trees, checked on the elderly, set up places for heat, even had hot suppers at cafeteries for people without power.

Then.......

FEMA came in. That was when it got bad. People started getting jealous over who was getting what, this company was getting more money, this guy did more than that guy and got less money. When we all worked as a community just plain helping out it worked out well.

Myself I know a SHTF scenario WILL occur. Am I prepared? I don't know, I know we have old hand dug wells here and I have dragged up buckets of water on a rope, have tons of canned food at the ready, not to mention sheep grazing, chickens laying and the skills to handle it all. As a rule we are doers, and doers do what has to be done.

Does that mean when I reach out to grab a handful of potatoes out of the garden one of my freeloading neighbors does not take a gun, shoot me and raid my garden? I cannot answer that, but I know the loss of skills for the American people has been great, even with plenty of grazing sheep, I doubt there is many today that would know how to slaughter one.
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