Something that has been on my mind for quite some time, in regards to survival, is Food Procurement. This is an area of my own readiness that I tend to have somewhat of a different mindset… but I’d like to take a moment to discuss my thoughts.
In the way of survival, my mind revolves around food storage for short-term situations, but I tend to think more heavily about food procurement for long-term situations. My reasoning is that I do not intend to shelter in place long-term in the city during an emergency/survival situation. If I believe that an emergency situation will prospectively last for more than 3 to 4 weeks with no chance of resupplying our cupboards, then my short-term food supplies will have been used up and I will have already made preparations to vacate the city. The only situation where I would turn to our long-term food procurement plans is if we lost our stored food (via fire, theft, or robbery), had the need to share our food with family/friends/church family, or we felt unsafe in our home/city and believed it best to leave.
One positive thing about only keeping a month or so of food on hand at any given time is that if we feel the need to leave, the space it will take up will be marginal at best with the rest of our survival gear that we will also need to pack into our vehicles or onto our backs. If I had 6 months to several years’ worth of food stored in our home, we will likely have great troubles trying to leave with it. If we try and must leave some of it behind, it is a waste on our part. While I understand that it could be argued that keeping less than a year or more of food stored is not advised by many, I am more concerned with what will happen after that food is gone… whether it is consumed by yourself, your family, or others. I do not believe that many people are concerned with what they will need to do once that food is gone. This is something which I have thought about quite a bit and is reflected in my own survival gear.
I believe that the first thing you will need to consider in the way of food procurement is what the land around you has to offer if you find yourself without any other food resources. My home state of Florida is the best state I could choose to live in when it comes to natural food procurement. This of course is my own opinion, which I’m sure others do not share. The reason I maintain this view is because our state is surrounded by The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean, offering a multitude of aquatic life that can be gathered or caught by fishing, netting, or spearing. In addition to the oceans, we also have a large amount of fresh water rivers and lakes for the same purpose.
But water life is not the only benefit this great state has to offer when it comes to survival! We also have one of the largest wild hog (boar) populations in the lower 48. The benefits of hogs are many, but the primary one would be their rate for reproduction. I won’t go into the details and statistics of hog copulation, but suffice it to say that they breed like rabbits. In a world where many people are trying to survive by hunting whatever animals are around them, hogs will likely be the last of the medium to large sized game to be hunted out by humans due to their reproduction rate. But unlike the lean meat of rabbits, hog meat offers all the essential fatty acids that rabbit meat is void of and cause deficiencies in the long-term. Outside of hogs alone, there are many other animals that can be taken for food during an actual life or death survival situation… though many are currently either protected, like big cats or bears. It is strongly advised not to harm those protected animals if you are not truly in a life or death situation. We also have many other animals that abound here, but they are likely overlooked by most.
As for the second consideration, I would urge you to be mindful of the ground composition around you. Good soil is hard to come by, but greater still is having the knowledge to know what types of food plants will grow plentifully and thrive in the climate that you have chosen. There are a vast amount of areas of our great country that are polar opposites of each other when it comes to ground soil. Some areas are rich and fertile, some rocky, and yet others are sandy. Climate also plays a critical role in how well plants are able to grow. But since many hunter/gatherer cultures over the centuries have spent a good 80% or more of their time gathering food rather than hunting for it, it is a safe bet that learning to garden and harvest your own food plants are priceless skills to know and practice. Along those same lines, having a solid knowledge of wild edibles is also a skill that you will likely not regret having. There are so many options for learning, but the best is to just get your feet wet and practice these skills now in some capacity… you never know when they might aid you in staying alive.
For the third and final consideration, there are certain tools you must have in order to procure that food. To catch a wild hog, it requires a gun with adequate ammo to pierce their armor plated hides, spears (both of steel, as well as sharpened & hardened wood) to pierce into them, or traps/snares to catch them. When it comes to other food options such as aquatic delicacies, it would benefit you to have the right tools to get the job done. These tools can include seine and casting nets (and tools to make/repair nets), fishing poles, fishing tackle, spears, traps, etc. Gardening requires very different tools such as shovels, tills, hoes, buckets, and seed. The important thing is that you have these tools readably available to you and know how to use them. Of course, I support the idea of stocking up on these items now in case you someday find yourself in great need of them. It would also be a wise idea to learn how to craft and make these items out of natural materials in the event that you lose your tools or they eventually wear out on you. In any case, having good quality tools now could make all the difference when you are starving and in need of food. The best tools you could possibly have would be those that do not require you to be there in order to catch prospective food for you. This would include traps, pits, snares, gardening, yo-yo fishing reels, and other stand-in methods of food procurement.
So when you think about all of the food storage items and canned goods that many people will try to get you to invest in, think past those items and build upon your tools and skills that will enable you to feed yourself and those whom you love when your food reserves, for however long you choose, are depleted. It is only then that you will understand what the value of food truly is and can appreciate the effort that it takes to acquire food from nature.