Category Archives: SHTF

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Guest post by Kenny Hearrell

I had spent most of the summer watching 3 mature whitetail deer in the thirteen hundred foot tall hills in southeastern Oklahoma. buy augmentin online europeAll three of them had been using well worn travel paths, along the tops of the hills, hitting the corn that had been put out, but mainly eating on the abundant acorns that the mature oaks nestled up on high had been producing. Almost as if a magical clock had rung its bell, they all disappeared in mid October, leaving only a few small bucks, some does, and a massive army of pigs in their place. Bow season had started up, and the big boys that we had been watching had vanished.

My first thought was that the pigs had run them off the land that we were hunting. Seeing as one of the boars that seemed to show up at every stand was in excess of 400 pounds, I wouldn’t want to stay around either. After the last three bow hunting trips I’d gone on, not seeing one single deer, I decided to do some in season scouting of the property that I was on. Coming off the tops of the hills, armed with my bow, some topo maps, and a light rain to mask my movement, I worked my way around the funnels and creeks that run throughout the property. The upper areas that I had been setting up in were open areas, with grand oak trees interspersed with mature pine and cedar trees. The bottom areas were the exact opposite, thickets and immature stands of thick pine groves that would not support any kind of stand. It was at this point that I made my discovery, one that fired me up for my next set of off days to hit the woods again.

In the bottom part of where three hills converge I found a rub line in an immature stand of pines,buy generic augmentin online a rub line that would have excited any hunter. Along with a multitude of trashed young pines, every other brush and small tree in the area had been either rubbed and some even pushed into the ground. The damp ground also gave up signs of many big whitetails, and the tail tale sign of where our deer had turned to spending their free time.

As I looked at all the new sign that I had stumbled upon, I soon noticed that there was no good trees to hang a stand or to lean a ladder stand against. No despair came over me though. I knew that it was time. Time to break out my ground game. Time for some eye to eye hunting, on their level, mano a deero. A new excitement came over me as I packed my way back up to the camp to load up for the drive home.

“Time to break out the ghillie suit” I happily exclaimed to my wife when I got back home. “You didn’t see anything again?” as she smirked at me as I started unpacking my ghillie suit and prepping it for the next hunting excursion that I was already planning. “Its time to get on the ground and go after them, like the one that you helped me get loaded up when we lived up in north Iowa”. It was going to be at least another week until I could make the three hour drive back to my land to hunt,how to buy augmentin due to work, but in my mind I was already working up my to do list for the next adventure. As I sat in the middle of the living room floor I asked my middle daughter to go get the vacuum cleaner as I picked out briars and leaves out of my suit from the previous years hunt. Picking out the leaves brought back lots of previous hunts memories.

You may be thinking ghillie suits and a traditional bowhunter magazine? Ghillie suits have been used for over a century, used by Scottish game keepers to fend off poachers and to look over their Lords game. The game keepers even developed tactics so that while wearing their suits they would grab game as it passed by them, and take back to their Lords castles for them to hunt in their courts.  The suits were eventually developed into tools for military use, and about the only difference in the suits that are used by our military snipers presently and what the Scots used, is the materials that are used to make them.

My first suit was of the home made variety. I went to my local army surplus store and purchased a one piece flight suit, and a roll of netting. The next stop was to the craft store where I purchased jute twine,buy augmentin in uk clothes dye, and several rolls of dental floss. I must have spent forty plus hours of sewing netting, and the taking strands of different colored jute and tying into the netting until the entire flight suit was covered. I never used the suit for bowhunting though, at the time it was my varmint hunting suit. One of the advantages of the suit that I made was that it kept me plenty warm during the coldest part of the winter. But as one could guess, it was almost unbearably hot when the temperature got above freezing. As a birthday gift one year, my wife purchased me a new camouflage outfit, one that was made with “leafy” pieces of fabric sewed into it. Not quite a ghillie suit, but it served its purpose. Many years later, I would get my original suit out and attempt to use it for bowhunting, only to learn that the additional thirty plus pounds that I had gained from weight lifting, rendered it too small for me. It eventually was donated to a co-workers son that developed an interest in varmint hunting.

In 2009, at the peak of the whitetail rut in North Iowa, I had permission to hunt a corn farmers land. A few days after he had harvested a field of corn, I spotted several bucks running does in the open fields. The situation presented itself that I could set up on a fence row that had about a ten foot width of underbrush running its length, dividing the cut corn field and a grass field. buy augmentin irelandThe deer were using this as a travel route and they had created a super highway trail right down the center of this fence line. At the time, I was using my leafy suit, and almost the same situation presented itself that I face today, no trees to get up in the air in. So, I took a small stool with me, a buck decoy and armed with some parachute cord and some handheld pruners, I fashioned me a very crude ground blind on the fence line. As the sun came up that morning, the wind started to blow right into my face from the direction of the corn field. It was very cold that morning, and with the wind blowing it was down in the single digits. At around 8:30, I had decided that the cold was going to win out on me that day, that’s when I saw a buck chasing after a doe. My adrenaline started pumping as I watched them for over 45 minutes, several hundred yards out in the corn field. They would stop running and from where I sat, you could see the steam rise off of them. The chasing and stopping seemed like it lasted an eternity but as soon as it all started it was over with. Both the buck and doe disappeared from my vision.

As I sat there, I started thinking of packing all my gear back to the truck, which was about a mile away, and that’s when I heard it. I loud thump just eight feet to my left. I slowly rolled my eyes in that direction and there he stood. The eight point that had been chasing the doe earlier, and he was standing right next to me. He was intently focused on the buck decoy sat up out in his corn field and he was none too happy about it. He had both ears laid back on his head, and all the fur along his spine was raised up on end. He had no interest in me being there at all, as he quartered right in front of me, positioning himself between me and my decoy. At six feet, I drew back my bow and sent my G5 Montec tipped Gold Tip arrow straight through the buck. The arrow landed out in the corn field some forty plus yards away! The buck trotted over to where my decoy was set up, blood pumping out both sides of him, and using his last bit of effort, ran his antlers into the side of my decoy. That was the last step he took. I called my wife and hardly able to breathe told her, “get some warm clothes on; I am coming to get you”.

That was the start of my love of hunting from the ground, and utilizing a ghillie suit in my tactics. buy augmentin onlineDuring the 2013 bow season in Texas, I had a chance to hunt a friend’s property in West Texas, Even though there were plenty of trees to hang a stand from, I still chose to get up against a mesquite tree that had some brush growing around it, and I got myself set up on the ground. This time, I was wearing a ghillie suit made specifically for bowhunters. This one is designed so that the bow arm does not have any strings or other material that will catch your bow string once you draw or release your arrow. This suit was also bought for me by my wife (see the developing pattern that camo makes a good present for me!).  On the second day of the hunt, I had in excess of twenty deer surrounding my location, with eight of them being 8 pointers or better. I severe case of buck fever took over me and at 16 feet, I sent an arrow a foot over the top of a really nice 8 point.  Even though there was no deer loaded up, it was still very exciting to be experiencing hunting in this fashion.

My years of hunting from the ground and especially with a ghillie suit have taught me many things that I would like to share. First and foremost, if you make or buy a ghillie suit, absolutely stay away from flames, and consider the use of some type of flame retardant product on your suit. You do not want to be caught in one of these suits if it ignites. The many different types of fabrics and strings used could potentially be like dry tinder igniting should a flame get too close you. Second, I like to keep my suit as scent free as possible. I always use a scent free detergent, washing it in a 5 gallon bucket, and letting it hang dry outside. If you want to make your significant other extremely upset with you, go ahead and wash and dry your suit in the washing machine and dryer. Don’t ask me how I know this tidbit of information. In addition to keeping myself and my underclothes as scent free as possible, I also spray my suit down with scent killer before going in the field. Hunting on the ground you often lose the advantage of having your scent blow over animals as you would in a tree from an elevated position. My last piece of advice is about getting into and out of your hunting areas with your suit. The suits are designed so that everything in the woods sticks to them. That means, briars, mesquite branches, leaves, small insects and rodents, everything. About the only thing that I have not had stick in my suit is rocks. But I am not discounting that not happening either. My solution to this problem is that I simply roll my ghillie suit up into a tight roll and attach it to my backpack. Once I get to my hunt location, I take a few extra minutes to get into it, and then the hunt is on.

 

 

 

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It’s not an Iron Maiden song, what is it? Have you ever heard of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists? Yeah, it’s not a magazine I subscribe to either, but in a nutshell; it’s a group of atomic scientists and climate change scientists (not sure how they got in there, I guess they’re everywhere) that predict the total destruction of the world. They use this clock, the doomsday clock that counts down to midnight, where midnight is the destruction of civilization and the earth. Well in truth, it isn’t much of a clock. Since its inception in 1947 the farthest it has been from midnight is 23:43, sorry that’s 11:43 pm for those of you that don’t understand 24 hour time. The closest it has been was 2 minutes to midnight, in the height of the cold war between 1953 and 1960. Then it backed off quite a bit and it’s farthest point was 1991-95, but since 1998 it has dropped pretty hard and steady with a small uptick between 2010 and 2012 but dropped to 3 minutes to midnight in 2015 and at the end of January the group announced the clock would remain there for 2016.doomsday

So yeah, many global scientists have been beating the climate change drum for years… I truly don’t want to debate climate change! All I will say, is that if climate change is truly a threat, it will be 50 to 100 years before the climate is changed so significantly as to affect life as we know it. On the flip side of that coin, there is the atomic threat. There are many atomic/nuclear threats in the world, real or perceived that really do need to be addressed.

Beginning in the late 1990’s there began a general worldwide scare that Russian suitcase nukes or mini-nukes went missing after the fall of the Soviet Union. There was an Australian television documentary that claimed, out of 132 mini-nukes only 48 were accounted for. The question became, where were the rest? Hollywood released a series of movies based on the subject including Peacemaker and Bad Company, the television series, “24” ran for 9 seasons 2001-2010.suitcase_threat Many of the movies have claimed these nukes could take out an entire city, however in reality with a warhead measuring about 23 inches long and weighing about 70 pounds, would have a yield less than 1 kiloton, less than 1/10 the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. I don’t mean to minimize the threat of these nukes. They’re small, portable, and the perfect terror weapon! They may not level an entire city but would still kill millions!

In addition to the suitcase nukes, there are rogue nations pursuing their own nuclear weapon programs. North Korea has conducted 4 nuclear weapons tests in the past 10 years including one last month (January 2016). Don’t get me started on Secretary Kerry’s Iranian nuclear deal. In short, yes there is a very real nuclear threat out there.nudet However both Iran and North Korea are still in the infant or toddler stages of a nuclear weapons program. For them to develop a strike capable nuke, they’re still several years away unless maybe you are their neighbor. In the case of North Korea, they have to know that any nuclear aggressive action on their part toward any advanced nuclear country would result in the entire country of North Korea experiencing a heat wave, like a 100 million degree Celsius heat wave. Iran on the other hand, due to the fundamentalist nature of their leadership, may actually use a nuclear weapon, consequences to their own country be damned.

My question is, “does it warrant 3 minutes to midnight?” One minute farther away than the height of the cold war. Its 4 minutes closer than the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when many in the west thought nuclear war was imminent! We’re sitting at one minute closer than when NATO ran their “Able Archer” war game in Germany in 1983. So why is the threat of world destruction so close in 2015-16? I don’t think it’s the nuclear threat from rogue states since the real threat there is still perhaps 10 years away. The missing suitcase nukes, if indeed they do exist have been floating around out there for 30 years. True, we didn’t have the ISIS threat for the last 30 years, but we did have other brands of radical Islam. After all they did detonate a truck bomb under tower one of the world trade center in 1993 in an attempt to topple both towers. I don’t even think it is about climate change, with all due respect to the current President of the United States, climate change is not the number one threat to America! Since the earth’s climate is cyclic and has been warming and cooling for many millions of years, the fact that humans could cause, let alone prevent global climate fluctuation is arrogant at a minimum.nuclear-winter

There is definitely the ability for the nations of the world to engage in a thermonuclear war, the fallout from which could block out the sun and throw the globe into a nuclear winter, because the weapons do exist. However please forgive my skeptical cynicism, but I think the “Doomsday Clock” is a way, for a group of scientists that have not had a meaningful scientific contribution to the world in years, to bring some global attention to their group and attempt to promote funding for their research. I find it highly doubtful we are closer to a nuclear or any other type global disaster than we were during most of the cold war.

 

 

 

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Bugging Out… Where?

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One of the most controversial subjects in this community is the contents of your BOB (Bug Out Bag)! I don’t want to get into a big heated debate in the comments section, because yes, I read all of them and respond to as many as I can, so as a disclaimer, this is MY list and it is centered around my needs and my abilities! Yours could vary considerably depending on your knowledge base, climate and bug out destination, which brings me to my next disclaimer! Bugging out is a last resort scenario! You are almost always better off staying put, hunkering down and sheltering in place. Your house/apartment is the largest version of your stuff and has way more resources than you can carry with you! So to reiterate, bugging out is a last resort and should only be done if remaining in place will put your life or the lives of your family in danger.

Where are you bugging out to? How are you getting there? Here’s the deal folks; we plan everything! If you leave your home and all of your stuff on foot with a backpack full of stuff that someone on the internet said you were going to need, bound for God knows where; odds are the vast majority would be dead in a week! If you have to leave your home, have a specific destination and a plan to get you there! That being said, your Bug Out Bag is the gear that you will need to get you from your original location to your planned destination, that’s it! There’s none of this, “well, I might need to kill and cook a deer on the way” B.S. If you’re bugging out and God forbid having to do so on foot, a whole lot has gone bad and this should be treated like a SERE scenario!evade

  1. Avoid human contact. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you! If you want to be a Christian charity when you’re at home or again in your bug out location, fine but on the road avoid people. You have no idea how desperate people are, what their circumstances are or what they’re capable of. Anything you can do that will attract attention, don’t! To name a few items: this includes fires, cooking, hunting and discharging a firearm (unless YOUR life depends on it). It’s definitely not an all inclusive list, but you get my meaning.
  2. Plan for shelter first. Next to not having air, not having shelter will kill you first. You should have 2-3 changes of underclothes and wool socks and some good, comfortable, insulated, over the ankle hiking boots. The type of clothing is dependent on climate, season and altitude, however layer your clothing so you can shed layers when hot and add layers when cold. You should have 2-3 different ways to stay dry. A rain suit and a military type poncho is what I recommend. The poncho has grommets and can be used as a shelter as well. If traveling with my family I might include a small tent but you have to weigh the threat of being seen.shelter I depend mainly on my surroundings to provide the items for my shelter because with the tools in my pack I can build several different kinds. But you can really hedge your bets with a 6’X8’ tarp, it will always come in handy. A bedroll, preferably a good lightweight sleeping bag.
  3. Next worry about water. In a pinch you can go a couple days without but it will have an effect so plan for about 1 liter per day per person. You will be walking and exerting your body and you will sweat even if it’s cold, so to avoid dehydration and cramping drink your water. water-bottle-120120Many packs have a hydration system built into them, I just use 2 canteens. Life Straw filters like 1000 liters of water and is a great back up. Water purification tablets are light weight but generally purify more water than you will drink and can be harmful when trying to use small doses. If you use them purify the recommended amount of water, fill your containers and leave the rest for someone else.
  4. The next thing to plan for is accidents. I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about a first aid kit because I couldn’t do it justice here; it deserves and will have its own edition. There are a couple things I will say, first I recommend you build your own, so you have firsthand knowledge of everything in your kit and you don’t have a lot of what you are unlikely to need but not enough of what you are more likely to need. Also, if you live anywhere that you could run into poisonous snakes have a snake bite kit.
  5. Food is down the list a bit for me. Since this kit is for 48-72 hours, food should be minimal. I won’t spend a lot of time on it since it should consist of energy bars and trail food, maybe MRE’s that don’t need to be cooked. All you want is calories to give you energy to get you where you’re going, although avoid candy bars since they will give you a sugar rush that will be over as quickly as it began.
  6. Tools are an important part of the kit. A good multi tool, I prefer Leatherman, will do so many things for you. A shovel type tool can do far more than just dig, the M48 can be used as an ax, as a machete, it has a serrated edge and would be a wicked weapon in a hand to hand situation.m48Shovel A wire saw can be used to cut poles for shelters as well as firewood. One of the other hotly debated topics in this field is: what is the best survival knife? Since I’m going to do a whole article on it, let’s just say have a good survival knife that is comfortable for you.
  7. Miscellaneous items, that I couldn’t categorize elsewhere. A solar/hand crank AM/FM radio to keep appraised of emergency news. A good flashlight and a head light preferably with red lenses with extra batteries for each. Although I recommend only using them inside a structure where there is no light, to avoid detection. 2- 50 gallon black plastic trash bags, can be used to collect water and as ponchos. Cell phone with power bank for recharging, this isn’t to play candy crush on the trail but for emergency communication if there is reception. There are also plenty of useful apps that can be used even if they aren’t (like my spotting and bullet trajectory app). A pencil and small note pad for making notes, writing coordinates, bearings and anything else you may need to remember. A couple bandanas can be used for 100 things. 100 ft of 550 cord (paracord), 50 ft of climbing type rope something in the 10mm range also some military surplus trip/snare wire 50 ft or so. Don’t forget maps of the area and a compass. Duct tape, binoculars, 3 different ways to start a fire (for emergencies and distraction), bug spray and sunscreen round out the list.
  8. Personal protection items, is again a much debated topic. Many cannot legally carry a firearm due to their local laws, however since this is my blog and I live in Texas and was fairly clear at the beginning that this is about MY equipment, I am always carrying both a handgun with spare magazine and a assisted opening locking blade type knife.ar15_m4_xhc_by_hellion You can be sure if I’m bugging out I will also have a tactical carbine rifle also with several spare magazines.
  9. Personal hygiene items. A toothbrush and toothpaste will make you feel a whole lot better than if your teeth are wearing sweaters while you walk. Also since you are only going to be out 48-72 hours, handiwipes to clean the sensitive areas will help prevent chaffing and a roll of toilet paper in a plastic ziplock bag.

This list is not all inclusive, and mine changes by season and is modified periodically based on my needs and desires but it will give you somewhere to start.

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The Old World Revisited


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I read a popular blog post last week that posed the question, “Is living within 100 miles of a city of 1 million people safe after an SHTF event?” After posting my opinion. We had my son and his family at our house for the Christmas holiday and I started thinking about family separation in an SHTF event… I live northwest of Fort Worth and my son lives southeast of Dallas, in other words my concern is that I have over 7 million people separating us! I also have 2 daughters and grandchildren in Southern California, a grandson in Washington and a son in Utah. In an event such as a nuclear or EMP attack, travel of thousands of miles would be difficult and deadly, but even hundreds of miles with certain obstacles may as well be thousands!

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To start with, in an EMP/nuclear attack all distance communication would be wiped out. Any vehicle with electronic ignition and fuel injection would be absolutely useless. Any vehicles that still work would be subject to confiscation by governmental officials under martial law or by outlaws. Horses or other pack animals would be desired not just for their use to ride but as meat for starving people, since hunting/trapping has become a lost art to the common city dwelling modern human. Even with a car, how far could a person get? 5 or 600 miles then what? What happens when the gas runs out? What happens to families like mine that are scattered around the country, to kids that are off at college, dads that are truck drivers or moms that are flight attendants or on a business trip in New York when it hits? How many of us are prepared to walk hundreds or thousands of miles to get home? Do you have a plan in place for your family to execute in your absence?

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There’s no question that large population centers will be a dangerous obstacle when traveling. Whether they are run by a government official, military force, or former criminal boss turned ruler, what he/she/they see as most beneficial may be at your expense with very little you can do about it! Whether by vehicle, horse, ox cart, or on foot large population centers should probably be avoided!

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If you travel on a regular basis, have and know how to use paper maps. Large scale maps of where you are and possible routes home and small scale maps of the area you are visiting and any points of interest/concern in your proposed path. A thought worth mentioning on this subject however… Any points/routes plotted on a map will be subject to compromise if the map is lost or stolen! If you don’t want your bugout location or families location known, plotting them on the map is probably not a good idea! Besides look at it from an outsiders point of view, someone who has a map and a plan is noteworthy and probably has resources worth taking.

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Many possible threat events could push us back 150 years or more. The problem is that travel in the ways of the old world is only the beginning of our problems! 150 years ago there was an infrastructure in place that was based on a technology that has been antiquated and replaced many times since then. How do we go from cell phones and robotics back to pony express and carrier pigeon; from supermarkets and fast food to hunting, harvesting and non refrigerated food storage? Do we have the knowledge and skills to survive without modern conveniences?

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The Rule of 3’s

ruleof3

Knowing the rule of 3s, focuses you on your survival priorities. It’s funny in many Hollywood dramas about survival situations, how the characters spend a considerable amount of time and energy pursuing the wrong priorities, and could very well in real life result in their doom.

3 Minutes Without Air; going without air is known as Hypoxia. Hypoxia can be generalized, affecting the whole body or it can be localized to a portion of the body. It can be caused generally in healthy people by being at a high altitude or breathing gasses low in oxygen content. High altitude typically over 8200 ft or 2500 m can cause High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), a life threatening condition resulting in the lungs accumulating fluid. This condition requires immediate medical attention and getting the subject to low altitude.

3 Hours Without Shelter; being without shelter in harsh weather will kill you! The inability to protect the body from cold can result in hypothermia, a condition that occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees. Alternately, hyperthermia is the opposite. When the body takes on more heat than it can dissipate, commonly caused by heat stroke due to prolonged exposure to high heat and/or humidity.

shelter
Therefore, in a survival situation establishing shelter should be your first priority! The type of shelter depends on the circumstances. If you’re lost and want to be found, seeking shelter in a manmade structure or high visibility location, using signal fires for warmth/cooking and signaling is the route you want to take. However in an SHTF situation where you are either on the run evading capture or avoiding human contact trying to get to your bugout location and need temporary shelter. Use the SERE acronym BLISS:

Blend in
Low Silhouette
Irregular Shape
Size
Secluded Location

Blend in: use low visibility material and camouflage your shelter with cuttings from the local vegetation. Construct it in a shadowy/low lying area (not a dry wash if rain is likely) away from roads and trails. Humans are basically lazy and won’t go into hard to access places without good reason.
Low Silhouette: keep your shelter low to the ground, waist high or below, preferably knee high. Avoid high ground, stay in or near the bottom of hills/draws/hollows. If you are halfway up a hill but low to the ground, you are still head height to someone standing below you.
Irregular Shape: regular geometric shapes are very noticeable to the human eye and indicate a manmade structure. Be mindful not only of how your shelter looks close up but also from a distance and from above. Looking down on a square tarp from a hilltop or from the air would be a dead giveaway!
Size: make a shelter just big enough to do the job, keep it small! If you’re with your family, consider making multiple small shelters instead of a single large one. This is to protect you from the elements while you rest or lay low during high enemy activity not a place to sit around and play cards, so big enough for one or two people to lay down and rest.
Secluded Location: stay away from buildings, roads and trails. Avoid clearings and high ground, in times of bright sun light, avoid casting shadows when possible.
water-bottle-120120

3 Days Without Water; while it is true there are cases of people living without water for a week, this is NOT an area you want to experiment around with. Our bodies are 65% water and dehydration has serious physical consequences, some of its symptoms are: weakness, sluggishness, confusion, and fainting. When on the move trying to avoid detection, I definitely don’t want to feel sluggish, weak and confused… STAY HYDRATED! Water collection methods and sources will depend on your environment and will have a future article devoted to it. However for now, suffice it to say keep a personal water filter and chemical water purifying pills in your bugout bag. Boiling water is also an option, however should be avoided when on the move as fires will attract attention.

3 Weeks Without Food; although food is the least critical of our necessities, it is no less important. When we go without food our bodies go into starvation mode and begin to store fat and metabolize our muscle tissue. It can also result in physical weakness and dehydration. When at our shelter in place or our bugout locations, considerable time and resources can be devoted to the hunting and gathering of food, however if our transit time is less than a few days, hunting and cooking is not practical and the cooking fire could have a more detrimental effect than a few days without eating.

In short, if an SHTF situation should catch you traveling on foot in hostile or potentially hostile territory. If you’re having difficulty breathing due to altitude, all effort should be focused on getting to a lower altitude. If you can breath, shelter when the local population is active and travel when they are less active. Establish your shelter with consideration for the acronym BLISS, near a reliable water source. If you can get to your destination in a few days and a food source isn’t readily available, forgo it, however if the travel will be extended, attempt to find a food source that doesn’t require cooking.

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