by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:
If you’re involved in the preparedness lifestyle, you’re probably into planning. Most likely, you research and study the excellent preparedness strategies put out by experts. Whether we prepare for incidents small or large, we all ponder what we’d do if something world-as-we-know-it-ending went down.
The trouble is, a lot of the plans that get made are more likely to get you killed than to save you. And people post these plans online, then new preppers read them and think, “Wow, what a great idea.”
I really love being involved in the preparedness lifestyle. I get to meet and correspond with lots of like-minded, down-to-earth people. We have those awesome conversations that you just can’t have with the checker at the grocery store cash register. I get to engage in email and social media discussions too, the likes of which would never occur with my second cousin who thinks that missing a pedicure appointment is a disaster worthy of government intervention.
But sometimes, I kind of cringe. Not all preparedness plans are well-thought out and practiced. In fact, there are several recurring themes that I hear or read that are not good ideas for most preppers, and I bet that many of you reading have also privately rolled eyes at one of the following strategies. (Or maybe even publicly.)
I’m truly not trying to be mean when I share them with you here, nor am I trying to say that I’m the Queen Prepper of the Universe, who knows absolutely everything. I’d just like you to consider the variables if one of these plans happens to be your default strategy.
Note: Some people really are ultramarathoners, expert hunters, ex-special forces, and super-farmers. If you are one of those folks, this article may not be for you. If you already regularly practice these skills, this article may not be for you. If you do nothing but talk about these ideas and daydream about your action-hero future, this article IS for you.
Bad Strategy #1: “I’ll just hunt and live off the land.”
Oh my gosh. No, you probably won’t. You might try to hunt, but guess what? Loads of other people have this same idea. Unless you live hundreds of miles from civilization, the population of deer and wild turkeys will be quickly decimated in an event that renders the food delivery system inoperable.
Furthermore, hunting is not as easy as simply wandering into the woods, taking aim with a rifle, and popping a wandering buck in the head. Have you ever hunted? Have you done so recently, and by recently I mean within the past year? Have you ever field dressed an animal? Can you hit a moving target? Do you know how to set up snares? Do you know how to butcher and preserve meat? Are you in good enough shape to drag a 200-pound carcass through the woods?
If you can’t say yes to every single question listed here, hunting should probably not be your go-to plan for feeding your family.
Bad Strategy #2: “I’ll go into the woods and live there.”
This is closely related to Bad Strategy #1.
But it’s worse. Living in the wilderness is not going to be a marshmallow roast. First off, there are no marshmallows out there. Just lots of predators and food that has to be killed and skinned before you can eat it.
In this strategy, people like to talk about their proximities to a national forest. “There are thousands of acres, just on the other side of my fence.”
Okay. But when is the last time you went into that forest more than a few miles on foot? Did you spend more than a couple of nights there? Was the weather inclement? What are your local predators (not including the human variety)? Do you have a camping kit that you can carry in on foot? Will your children and spouse be able to also carry supplies? Are you planning to build a house with some tarps and a Swiss Army knife? What will you eat and drink? Are you adept at foraging in your area? For how long can you actually survive on what you can carry? How are your First Aid skills and what supplies will you have? Can you handle the loneliness? And what about the other, perhaps less than moral, individuals that have the same idea? Have you ever lit a fire with wet wood? Have you ever camped, outside of a campground area? What if it rains? In many climates, getting wet is a death sentence.
Bad Strategy #3: “I’ll bug out on foot for 73 miles through the mountains, even though I don’t regularly exercise.”
If bugging out on foot is one of your plans, I’d like to suggest you pick a clear day, put on a loaded backpack and some hiking boots, and go for a practice hike to your location. Go ahead. I’ll wait here.
This one really bothers me. There is a large contingent of armchair preppers who have this idea. However, they don’t exercise regularly. They look back 20-30 years to their high school or military glory days, when they played football, ran track, or had a drill sergeant screaming right behind them as they ran. Just because you were once very physically fit, that doesn’t mean you are still able to hike up a mountain in bad weather with a 50 pound kit on your back.
This is a classic recipe for a heart attack, by the way. Extreme over-exertion. High-stress situation. High-sodium, easily packable food. Out-of-shape person. A few miles into the journey, particularly if it includes a steep climb, the person will experience a pounding heart, dizziness, and faintness, as the body tries to shut down to protect itself from the unaccustomed demands. If the physical stress continues, the heart won’t be able to keep up with the demand to pump blood. Game. Over.
Embarking on an overly ambitious bug-out journey can endanger not only you, but the people making the trek with you. What if you have a heart attack halfway up the mountain? What if you have an asthma attack? What if you injure your out-of-shape self? Who is going to help you? If the situation is bad enough that you’re bugging out, you aren’t likely to be airlifted to a hospital for medical care. Will someone put their own safety at risk to hang out with you while you recover, thus forcing the family to divert to Bad Strategy #2?
I’m not trying to talk anyone into staying in a bad situation when bugging out ould be the wiser course of action (like in Bad Strategy #11). But if your bug out route is a long distance or over difficult terrain, you need to get out there and start training before you put the lives of everyone in your team or family at risk.
Bad Strategy #4: “I don’t need a group. I’m going to go it alone.”
Ah, the rugged loner.