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Are guns necessary on a homestead?  RSS feed

 
Devin Lavign
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Marjory Wildcraft posted a video recently about guns on the homestead. She brought up how while she is not a gun person she had a wake up call with someone saying if things crash he will just come take what he needs with his gun. I was planning to post it in a thread I knew had been going about the topic of guns on the homestead and if they are needed, but it seems to have been locked since I last visited it. https://permies.com/t/13016/gun-homestead-solutions So following the advice on the thread. I will post it here.



I will say I am of the opinion about guns that they are a tool just like a shovel or rake. Could you homestead without a shovel or rake? Sure you can, but it would be more difficult as you would need to work around the need for those tools. Similarly with guns, they are a tool. They can be used for hunting, for defense against wild animals, for ethical slaughter of livestock, and yes in the worst case scenario defense against other humans if for some reason things got that bad. Marjory's video was definitely discussing in the case of some sort of societal collapse were locals would feel the need to take food from others. I am sure many feel this would not or could not ever happen, while others are very worried about this sort of thing and maybe too much so. In the middle is of course a medium where you consider this as possible but it is not your primary purpose for having a firearm. I think that would be the majority of folks with firearms, not taking it to any extreme.

Marjory does bring up a good point though about the local folks and if they are of this raider mentality, that folks who might not normally own firearms might want to consider them. Of course a caveat to that is if you buy them to be sure to train on how to use them safely. Worse than not having a gun, is having one you don't know how to handle and use safely.

I don't expect this to become a big discussion, but just felt her experience described in the video was worth sharing to those who might not watch her videos regularly.
 
Travis Johnson
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Honestly, I am not sure, though I probably lean more to the no side.

Up until Christmas I did not have a gun on this farm. Now I am neither a gun toting guy devoted to the cause, but not against them either. I got a shotgun for Christmas and felt it was a great gift and I am glad I have it.

There was a few times I needed one over the years. Now some know I am a full-time farmer, but for the last 8 years or so I was not, more of a homestead than commercial farm, so just clarifying there. I needed a gun though to put down a few nasty rams that would...well...ram. Since they take out the back or the knees, and they cost $150 and knee surgery is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, it is easy to see which should go. When it required, I just asked a neighbor for one and put the animal down myself. Living without one was easy though, so I would say no. Like a tractor, or manure spreader, they can be borrowed.

As for defense; a gun gives you some options, but not much honestly. The chance of me protecting my sheep from coyotes with a gun (especially a shot gun) are not very likely. A fence and guard dog are far better options, and people can do what do; get along with the local coyote hunters so they take out the coyotes on my farm.

As for personal, homestead defense. I would say that is pretty improbable too. Marority Wildcraft might have had a very honest neighbor, but even with a gun, his words still hold true. She might be armed, but he would just wait until he got the drop on her and she got to see the wrong end of his gun, and see him toting her stuff off. Let's face it, in farming you have your hands on a shovel or rake a lot; in other words your hands are busy, so the chances of being overtaken at just the right time is really against you. Even if it is strapped to your hip, you might not be able to get to it in time. I concede that it gives you some options; options you would not have any of without one, but if a person looks at it practically, a good adversary would wait until an ideal moment, take a homesteader out, and cart off their stuff regardless.

I am not saying she has a nice neighbor...quite the opposite, but he was bluntly telling the truth.

(Incidentally, in reading between the lines, it sounded like he was making excuses not to be prepared, which is kind of silly too in my opinion).




 
Tyler Ludens
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In tough times my neighbors will probably be long gone to town, where the food is.  None of them strike me particularly as the pioneering type.  If they don't leave, we'll probably band together more than we do now, which is already pretty decent with households sharing food, tools, and labor.  I think everyone here has plenty of guns.

 
Su Ba
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A gun is a tool on my homestead, much like the other hand tools I use. It has a specific purpose and does the job well. I don't see that owning and using a gun makes me a crazy, a murderer, a threat to others. While every neighbor around me owns a gun, it isn't obvious. None of us go around waving a gun.

I hope never to use a gun against a human. But I also hope that I am never forced to give up my gun.
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's very obvious to me that my neighbors own guns - they shoot them often, either shooting deer, or target shooting (with really poor aim, from the sound of it).  My husband owns guns, but has only used them twice - once to shoot a raccoon which was acting strangely, and once to put down a dangerous ram. 

 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy Devin, thanks for sharing that video, I had not seen it and up to this point I would have never taken Marjory as a gun owner. The reason I say that is what I see as the point of her story, even though she may not think it is, the bully in the store looks at Marjory as a quiet, hippy dippy liberal who will be easy pickings if any thing ever did happen.  Sometimes owning a gun makes these bullies think about going after an easier target. If I were Marjory I would make sure that I opened carried into that guys shop, wearing camo, and ask him if he carried ammo for sale. Make damn sure he knows that it might not be as easy as he thinks to steal your food.
The second piece of that puzzle is to be sure that you have friends and family who have your back. That you have a plan and training.

I can only go by what I see and have experienced in my life. All you have to do is remember what has happened in most of the big grid down situations, at least here in the USA. People go nuts, they loot stores, (mostly stealing things like TV's which have no value in a grid down situation ), but when the shelves are bare of food and folks get hungry, and they find out that the government is not really going to rescue them...well I believe things will get very ugly. Katrina is etched in my mind as a very valuable lesson.

So yes, I have many firearms and many rounds for each. And a network of folks who will protect each other if need be, including ex military.
 
Devin Lavign
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Devin, thanks for sharing that video, I had not seen it and up to this point I would have never taken Marjory as a gun owner. The reason I say that is what I see as the point of her story, even though she may not think it is, the bully in the store looks at Marjory as a quiet, hippy dippy liberal who will be easy pickings if any thing ever did happen.  Sometimes owning a gun makes these bullies think about going after an easier target. If I were Marjory I would make sure that I opened carried into that guys shop, wearing camo, and ask him if he carried ammo for sale. Make damn sure he knows that it might not be as easy as he thinks to steal your food.


Marjory as at least one other, as she also has a pistol, I think a Glock. She joking pulled it out and racked the slide in another recent video about what to do about live caught predators. Then went on to say she wasn't going to actually kill the wild raccoon she had in the cage in front of her. But she clearly has a pistol to go along with her rifle.

And yes you have a very good point of the guy in the store likely thinks she would be an unarmed passive target. So indeed making sure to make some sort of show of having a fire arm in front of him would be a smart move. Funny thing about all the hippies I know, they are all rural hippies, and they are armed. They love to shoot and buy high quality good guns to do their shooting. Stereotyping hippies as not gun owners can be a big mistake.
 
Wes Hunter
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Sorry to somewhat resurrect an apparently finished conversation.

I have a few guns, more for the purpose of hunting and varmint management (which I would consider two sides of the same coin) than anything.  I've never thought of needing/wanting to use one in self-defense, and if that sort of situation arose I'm not even sure what I'd do.  But I've long thought that in an honest-to-goodness shit-hits-the-fan scenario I'd rather die than have to continually defend myself and my family in perpetual warfare.  Because in that sort of situation, I can't imagine it's a matter of "that guy is going to come steal my food at gunpoint," but "that hoard is going to kill and continue to kill to get food."  I don't want to spend my life looking over my shoulder, hand on my sidearm, waiting for the next attack.  Maybe that's not how the zombie apocalypse will actually play out, but that's how I picture it.

Seems to me that a more proactive approach is far preferable.  Grow more food on my land than I need, so I have a surplus for others.  Teach others how to do the same.  Make positive connections with others in my community.  Prove myself indispensable so that killing me would be like a "feeding your seed corn" situation and thus inadvisable.  Reiterate the validity (especially in such a situation) of the "teach a man to fish..." concept.  And so on.  Seems a better path than having to regularly shoot people.
 
James Freyr
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I own a handful of firearms, both long guns and hand guns. I find shooting holes in paper targets and plinking steel targets to be fun. I would never hunt with a handgun, I use mine for recreation. Having long guns is nice if I need to go acquire some organic, free range meat to put on the table. I don't have a carry permit, and don't feel a need to carry a pistol with me. I don't ever want to have to point a gun at another person, and if you look at the data and statistics, odds are I never will. All of my firearms stay locked in a gun safe, except one. Regarding the question in the title of this thread, I don't believe they're necessary. People everywhere successfully raise animals and crops without guns. I choose to own them, and like others have mentioned, they're another tool on the homestead just like a shovel or a come-along. My one firearm that's not in the safe is like having car insurance, to me. I'd rather have and not need than need and not have, as I am terrible at predicting the future.
 
Wes Hunter
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James Freyr wrote:Having long guns is nice if I need to go acquire some organic, free range meat to put on the table.


As an aside--and because this is the Cider Press--I find this oft-said sentiment amusing.  There is, I can only assume, a very good chance that any ol' whitetail killed spent a fair bit of time browsing away in a GM soy or GM corn field, or ate from a food plot that was established with a good helping of glyphosate, or munched some pesticide-laden apples.  Hardly "organic."  I shoot 'em and eat 'em all the same, but I don't fool myself into thinking that a lack of confinement makes it pristine meat.
 
James Freyr
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I whole heartedly agree with you Wes, and if I chose to shoot a deer in my back yard I wouldn't begin to fool myself into believing it only ate native plants in the woods or mislead my wife into thinking it's organic. I also never mentioned I was hunting whitetail. There are still areas in north america where hunters can feel somewhat better about whatever their target animal may have consumed. Industrial farmers aren't row cropping the rocky mountains. It should be mentioned that it has been observed that wildlife don't want to eat GMO crops (but possibly some have and will). In the book Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey M. Smith, he writes of accounts where wild animals, including whitetail deer, won't consume GMO crops, and walk on by seeking other sources of food. It almost seems like "they know", and can sense that something is not natural about the crops. Animals have keen senses that people, or science, don't fully understand. A great example of this is historic accounts of birds and ground dwelling animals fleeing for high ground long before a tsunami strikes, or animals fleeing before a volcano erupts. How do they know? No one knows.
 
Wes Hunter
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To be clear, I wasn't trying to single you out or correct you, James, just using your comment to make a point.  I'm just amused at how many folks talk about any game animal as being "organic," apparently just because it wasn't fenced.  Some of this surely stems from a misunderstanding of what that term means, or at least is supposed to mean, but much of it is just some strange notion that a non-domesticated animal is pure and pristine by default.  I hear it and read it all the time, and too often from folks who ought to know better.

Sure, there are game animals whose entire ranges never encompass any sort of cultivated crop (though surely upstream water pollution still affects a number of these animals), but eastern whitetails living within some sort of agricultural area certainly make up the bulk of hunted game.  That's where I'm coming from, at least (and being in Tennessee, that's where I figured you were coming from as well).  Even those living distant from ag fields are likely to encounter food plots, many established with the application of broad-spectrum herbicides.  Wild animals might prefer non-GM crops, but there are plenty of conventional farmers who will tell you that certainly isn't always the case.  Seeing as some 90% of corn and soybean acreage in the US is GM, it'd be foolish to think that deer (and turkeys, and elk, and moose, and...) are only munching on the non-GM goodies.
 
James Freyr
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No offense taken and I still agree with everything you've said. Unfortunately I don't think anything is pure and pristine on our planet anymore. But I do think wild game is quality protein (and maybe people have information to support otherwise), and like you said, I'll eat it all the same.
 
Bethany Dutch
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This kinda reminded me of my stance towards bears. A few weeks ago there was a black bear outside my home and my dog, an 85lb American Bulldog chased it off.  That bear could have demolished her, but it wasn't really looking for a fight and it wasn't interested in a target that wasn't easy, so it ran off and that was that. I think a lot of these people are going to be like that.

Now - if you're planning and preparing for a SHTF situation, it makes sense to keep in mind that some people might turning against their neighbors. I imagine they will most likely be going after what they perceive as easy targets, at least to start with. I suppose if things get really desperate that might change.

Having said that, I think it's a really valuable thing to have good neighbors and community around you. I ended up with a piece of land next to my brother and also next to my parents and all the rest of our neighbors would be good people to have in a bad scenario. I only have one neighbor that might be iffy and I'm pretty sure we'd all deal with him. There's a lot of security in that - putting roots down in a place and land where the people around you can band together if necessary.

I think guns in general are a very valuable tool to have on the homestead, even if it's just to shoot into the air to scare off a varmint or to take care of the raccoon in the henhouse. Depending on where you live, of course, but out here we have occasional bears and cougars to go along with the smaller varmints, so having some kind of weapon would really even out the playing field.
 
elle sagenev
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It can be incredibly difficult to get larger gauge bullets in our area. They sell out at the time of shipment. There are lines waiting. It's why we kill pests with a .22. No one is buying .22 bullets.

Now, I don't exactly do guns. I've shot them, we have them, I'm not against them. I'm just not gun educated.

So correct me if I'm wrong but......unless you are hoarding mass amounts of bullets that gun is about as good as a hammer.

I get the position. I just think relying on something like a gun to save ya come the end of the world, well it's a good tool in the tool kit. I just hope it isn't the only one, because that baby has a decreasing usefulness with every bullet you shoot into oblivion.

I think a lot of people would be deterred by an electric horse fence. I've electrocuted myself enough to know it hurts like a son of a gun. Plus I raise pigs so.....anyone trespassing would likely get eaten by dog or pig before they got to me. In fact I was having a convo about pig protection with people lately as we've had a raccoon killing stuff. Before we got the pigs it was taking things from the barn. Now it only grabs things outside the safety of the boars domain. They were laughing that I should make a pig moat of protection around the property. Anything crossing it would likely regret it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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On ammunition. My tenant, Randy got two nice big deer when he visited his brother in Alberta last fall. He fired two shots. He drove the truck right up to one deer, and the other one had to be dragged 30 ft. He used the truck. It was a very efficient hour of hunting.

This came up when we were trying to eat outside and listening to someone across the river, who fired at least 50 rounds into a tree. Not sure if they killed it. It didn't fall down, and it appears that they have not eaten any of it.☺

Guns are quite useful. Drunken idiots with guns, are dangerous and numerous. They probably aren't as numerous as it might seem from my vantage point, on a ridge, overlooking an unregulated camping area. During hunting season, I occasionally hear a single shot, in the distance. I doubt that this is some fool hunting trees, who got lucky on the first shot.
 
Wes Hunter
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Dale Hodgins wrote:This came up when we were trying to eat outside and listening to someone across the river, who fired at least 50 rounds into a tree. Not sure if they killed it. It didn't fall down, and it appears that they have not eaten any of it.☺


He's probably still trying to track it.  Did it leave a very good sap trail?
 
Wes Hunter
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elle sagenev wrote:It can be incredibly difficult to get larger gauge bullets in our area. They sell out at the time of shipment. There are lines waiting. It's why we kill pests with a .22. No one is buying .22 bullets.


This doesn't contribute to the more practical part of this conversation, but I find this interesting.  Around here (southern Missouri), you can buy centerfire ammunition all day long, but for the past couple years .22 was next to impossible to find.  Now it's more available, but for a while there it was getting snatched up as soon as it hit the shelves.
 
Todd Parr
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Wes Hunter wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:It can be incredibly difficult to get larger gauge bullets in our area. They sell out at the time of shipment. There are lines waiting. It's why we kill pests with a .22. No one is buying .22 bullets.


This doesn't contribute to the more practical part of this conversation, but I find this interesting.  Around here (southern Missouri), you can buy centerfire ammunition all day long, but for the past couple years .22 was next to impossible to find.  Now it's more available, but for a while there it was getting snatched up as soon as it hit the shelves.


Exactly the same here.  I saw boxes of 550 rounds that used to sell for $12 being sold at the gun shows for $85 a box.  I could buy rounds for my AK-47s almost as cheap.  For quite a while here, you almost couldn't give .22 rifles or pistols away because the ammo was so high.

In answer to the original question, yes.
 
John Weiland
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Wes Hunter wrote:.... for the past couple years .22 was next to impossible to find.  Now it's more available, but for a while there it was getting snatched up as soon as it hit the shelves.


Same here in the northern Plains.  In fact, even went and got a Henry 0.17 caliber cuz the .22's were so hard to get whereas the former is a less popular format and hence more available.  A .223 provided a good option up from that and ammo seems to wax and wane in price and availability, but when the price is cheap, it is *really* cheap.  Outside of PCP pellet guns to knock down smaller things, the 20 gauge is probably the most used, just because my wife would not be able to hit the broad side of a barn without scatter-shot...  
 
Wj Carroll
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For me, it is a definite yes.  Not only did my grandparents' farm become a dangerous place due to both violent and property crime as the small farms disappeared and the area slid into economic depression, but large predators have also been an issue.  I was out side with my dog, working one evening, when we were encircled by a very large pack of coyotes.  I have no doubt that they would have attacked had I not been able to shoot at them.  About a year later, a black bear reached into an open window at a neighbor's cabin and swatted at the head of a sleeping person - multiple stiches, nearly died.  Perhaps, it was the same bear that showed up at a neighbor's house in the middle of the night.  My neighbor awoke, thinking someone was trying to break in.  He grabbed a gun and opened the front door to find a 420 lb black bear ripping the screen door off.  The bear attacked.  Almost miraculously, my neighbor (a retired cop and veteran) had the clarity of mind to deliver 4 rounds to center mass.  The gun saved his life... and filled our freezers with excellent bear meat.  I also believe that we have a responsibility to protect our livestock - they depend on us for safety.  So, instead of finding my chickens and such beheaded, a combination of humane trapping and a .22 gives me roast possum with me sweet potatoes and coon meat that makes awesome sausage!  I also hunt, so it is a definite yes for me.  Beyond that, wild hogs are a big problem here, and they can be very dangerous.  I carry a .38 daily and keep a 12 gauge under my bed.  The pistol prevented a mugging several years ago, so guns have protected my life on multiple occasions.
 
elle sagenev
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It's pretty funny the difference in bullet availability by region. Ya'll, send me some larger rounds and I'll send you some .22. lol
 
Wj Carroll
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I have almost entirely retired my .22 LRs.  On a friend's recommendation, I picked up a Hatsan Striker 1000s .22 air rifle a couple of years ago.  I know some may doubt an air rifle, but this thing is very impressive.  The pellets are cheap - like $6-10 for 500.  My air rifle aficionado friend buys and modifies several models, and re-sells them, so I won't compare my stock model to his.  He kills coyotes and bobcats with his Hatsan .22.... but, he is also a hell of a hunter.  He stalks in close and makes perfect head shots - far better hunter than I will ever be - he can go out to 100 yards with deadly accuracy, but will not take the shot on a critter at over 50 yards.  I take small to medium game at under 50 yards with mine - squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, coons, possums, crows, pigeons, beavers, muskrats, nutria, etc.  I eat a lot of small game.  Using the air rifle saves me money and is training me to be a better hunter.  I think any single shot rifle will make you choose your shots more carefully.  But, another major advantage is being able to shoot in the city limits.  I am, essentially, house sitting for a relative due to a death in the family.  I'm in a very un-natural for me, non-rural environment.  Being able to take almost daily practice in the back yard, around 50 shots a day at 30 yards, is not only good practice but helps keep me sane.  At 30 yards, the Hatsan punches right through pine boards, so my little target range is backed by boxes filled with old phone books and magazines, packed tight, about two feet thick.  I never fail to be amazed at how deeply the pellets penetrate.  The new, "big bore" muliti shot guns are incredible, and developing at a rate of innovation that could make them a viable possibility larger game hunting very soon.  There are already big game models on the market, but they are still too  expensive and inconvenient to compete with a good old deer rifle of standard caliber.
 
Todd Parr
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elle sagenev wrote:It's pretty funny the difference in bullet availability by region. Ya'll, send me some larger rounds and I'll send you some .22. lol


How much do they sell for there?

Wj Carroll wrote: I know some may doubt an air rifle, but this thing is very impressive. 


I bought two of them not too long ago, one in .177 and one in .22.  Both are very impressive.
 
elle sagenev
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Todd Parr wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:It's pretty funny the difference in bullet availability by region. Ya'll, send me some larger rounds and I'll send you some .22. lol


How much do they sell for there?


You can get a box of 500 .22LR for 10 bucks.
 
Todd Parr
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elle sagenev wrote:
Todd Parr wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:It's pretty funny the difference in bullet availability by region. Ya'll, send me some larger rounds and I'll send you some .22. lol


How much do they sell for there?


You can get a box of 500 .22LR for 10 bucks.


For that price, I might have to drive my pickup out there and load up
 
John Weiland
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Wj Carroll wrote:...I know some may doubt an air rifle, but this thing is very impressive. 


Agreed and a thread with some info on the ones I got for use against various small animals is here  https://permies.com/t/44239/PCP-air-rifle-rats-chickens ; .

It's not the Daisy BB-gun of old.  And more options now from pump to CO2 to pre-charged pneumatic.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I once read that the actor Sylvester Stallone, had about the same range as a daisy air rifle.

When I was a kid, I had a really good slingshot. It was a great deterrent, in dealing with stray dogs. I brought one German Shepherd to his knees, with a perfect shot to his ribs. My younger siblings we're never in danger, of finding the slingshot, and accidentally shooting themselves.

My younger brother, not the one that you see on this forum sometimes, has mental issues. He had a stolen gun, and was insistent that a certain family needed to be wiped out, to save the world from further progeny. Although I totally agreed, I bought the gun from him, to prevent him taking action in this regard. Once he was in a better state of mind,  a few years later, he gave me the money back and returned the gun to its rightful owner.
 
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