One survival “strategy” that come up quite often is that of the the subsistence hunter. I hear this most frequently from survival-aware individuals, who espouse the idea as they’re plan B.
There are several positive elements in this point of view. Namely, the recognition (even if subconscious) that life in today’s modern high-rises is unsustainable for an extended period in the case of massive system disruption.
Thus, moving or otherwise fleeing to rural area is ascertained to be the order of the day. Even more fundamentally, this strategy relies on the active participation of the espousing individual. Put simply, the person is taking responsibility for their own survival. This attitude is far too rare in today’s society, and thus anyone taking responsibility and planning ahead to be applauded for their efforts.
Hunting after TEOTWAWKI: Survival Myth Refuted
However, for most of us, the idea of procuring wild game in enough quantity and with enough regularity to sustain several individuals is profoundly flawed.
I recognize that this opinion will upset some, and probably stir up controversy. My intent is to catalyze thought, and prudent reflection on this “strategy” before one might find themselves forced to rely upon it.
The first problem with subsistence hunting in the near-future scenario is the number of humans involved. So many people state that their plan involves hunting that sheer number of hunters could become a major problem. Consider the success rates of modern sport hunting, then multiply that by a huge influx of hunters. This equates to massive pressure on game populations. Which in turn means that the situation quickly devolves into ever increasing pressure on a dwindling resource. Which translates into having to hunt longer and harder to bag this weeks food.
In many locals, this will probably translate into near extinction of many game species for quite some time.
The second problem also relates to significantly more hunters working harder while chasing fewer animals. More hunters + more pressure on each hunter= more accidents. And those accidents will run the gamut, from the relatively minor twisted ankle to mistaken identity shootings. Already a concern, imagine how dangerous the woods would become with all those hungry hunters desperate for a meal, ready to shoot at movement first, and ask questions later.
Now consider the enterprising criminal who quickly realizes that it is much more efficient for him to steal the catch of the successful hunter. He doesn’t need to hunt the game himself, when he can forcibly take it from you!
If you’re lucky, he’ll just relieve you of your hard work at gun point. If luck is playing fickle that day, he may ambush and kill you outright to minimize the risk to himself.
Either outcome pretty much entirely negates the benefit of the whole enterprise. And in a survival situation, we want to minimize the likelihood of a negative outcome for our work/risk.
Where does all this conjecture leave us?
Survival Myth Refuted!
At a place where relying upon subsistence hunting for most of our food needs looks like a loosing proposition. The risks are numerous, severe, and difficult to mitigate. And success is by no means guaranteed, should one manage to avoid all those dangers.
We would be remiss in this discussion to neglect the upside of hunting, ie those times when hunting is valuable option in our survival repertoire.
Opportunistic hunting is an entirely different ball of wax. In fact, it deserves its own article! This is where those hunting skills pay off!