SHTF: When The Scavengers Come Out to Play

We do not need to look far to see how our wilderness landscape will change if a SHTF scenario occurred.  America’s own history, as well as current events occurring across the world give us a very realistic picture of what to expect.

“If a SHTF scenario happened, I’d be able to harvest nature…”

I’ve heard that phrase from more than a couple folks.  And I’m not just talking about hunting deer.  I’m talking about a perception that nature will provide meat, plants, fuel (wood), and water.  As history shows, there may not always be much to harvest after all…


Everyone should recognize how bad it is over in Greece – it is indeed a full on Depression.  They have about 30% unemployment, no means of acquiring substantial GDP, and no hope of recovering even after repeated bailout failures.  What happened when it got cold?  The Greeks headed into the wilderness and started chopping down the forests.  The deforestation had become so bad that the legislature had to pass a law to prohibit cutting down trees.

Think that wood will be plentiful for your stove/fireplace?  Maybe not…

Greece deforestation


Registered hunters in the United States are estimated at anywhere between 23-44 million people within a given year.  If SHTF, we can imagine that at minimum there will be that many people out looking to acquire food.  However, let’s expand that number by looking at the fact that there are an estimated 270-310 million firearms in the United States – that’s close to one firearm for every person living in the US.

Of course, some people own multiple guns…Based on a PEW survey, we can expect about 25% of the population to own firearms.  With about 316 million people living in the US, that means 79 million people may have the bright idea of heading into the wilderness in search of food.

Back during America’s Great Depression, wildlife numbers dropped dramatically!

“Wildlife populations across the country plummeted to the point where simply seeing a whitetail was notable since there was less than a half million of them nationwide.  Wild turkeys were on the brink of extinction and only 100,000 elk remained.”

Wildlife conservation sites say that the numbers dropped dramatically due to whole sale slaughter of wildlife for commercialization due to the roaring 20’s.  However, being that the great depression started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930’s, is it coincidence that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act in 1937?  Seems very probable that wild life numbers dropped dramatically due to starving people hunting for food.

Additionally, with the wildlife deforestation that would occur as mentioned above, much of the wild life will perish due to displacement, disease, etc. as their homes are destroyed.

 So, you’re telling me we are SOL (shit outta’ luck)

Of course not!  When thinking about preparedness, always make sure you diversify your preparations.

Diversify your hunting supplies:  Snares and conibear body traps are a force multiplier in getting food. While you’re out hunting, they act as little mini-hunters for you.

Make sure you don’t rely on hunting as your sole food source.  You should be storing/preserving food.

Because of the majority of people’s lack of education on wild edibles, these may still be in large supply during a SHTF scenario.  Educate yourself now!  Here’s a good wild edible 101 article I’ve written to get started.

Have multiple heat sources for winter climate.  Wood stove, kerosene heaters, and propane heaters are all good options.  Check out my article 2015 Polar vortex preparedness for additional info.  Also, be prepared for a coming cold crisis that will last up to 30 years.  If you haven’t watched my interview with top climate scientist John L. Casey, please educate yourself and see his predictions about a dramatic change in the earth’s climate as based on solar/sun cycles.

Depending on your area (e.g. – California drought), ensure you know where water sources are, how to purify/treat them, and means to store water.

How have you planned to prepare for The Scavengers?

  • Problem Solver

    There are still areas in the US where you can buy coal and stoves that can burn wood or coal. In some situations you may wish to add such a stove and a coal bin to your prep. Coal is a fuel that will not rot, or go bad. You can compare it pound per pound against firewood. How much firewood do you need to have a ton of wood? The odds are a ton of coal will take up much less space. So the coal makes a great backup source.

    • Thanks for this add! Coal completely slipped my mind. I’ve heard of locals getting buckets of coals on the cheap by going down to ports on river ways. This is something I need to add to my list. What are your thoughts on John Casey’s cold era predictions?

      • Myraine1

        I live in a coal area with mines and trains hauling coal. In a true scavenging situation you can walk the tracks and pick up coal that has fallen off of the cars. Also occasionally a car will derail or cause a larger spill. even after clean up there wil be a generous amount for those willing to spend the time and energy picking up.

  • Anonymous

    Backyard Chickens (meat and eggs), stock a pond with fish, ducks, geese, raise goats (milk, meat), grow soybeans, and last but not least – vermiculture aka earthworms, cause “pound per pound has more protein than beef”

  • grayfozx114

    In a true shtf scenario, there will be immense pressure on our natural resources, but there will also be a tremendous die off of those competing for the resources. Whatever the cause of the incident is, it will take out many, many people, and of those left I will bet that less than 1/2 have any idea of how to hunt, kill dress and preserve wild game, or do any of the other myriad things that will be required to use the land for survival; they are inured with the belief that food can always be gotten from super markets and fast food places! Initially these people may be a problem, but they are going to starve. Same goes for wood gathering: How many have the means much less the knowledge to fell and harvest a tree? Talk about a mass die off….And trapping, leg hold or Conibear, is a skill that requires learning. I and many others could possibly make a fairly decent living trapping, but the average person is going to die trying to catch something! You covered things fairly well, diversify, diversify and have options. Water? Bad water or no water will sicken or kill thousands too. Those of us that have the means, knowledge and ability to truly live off the land will be royalty, ’cause in “The land of the blind, a one eyed man is king.”

    • It’s a terrible thing to imagine, but you’re right on everything. As preppers, we should try to steer clear of the chaos for an initial time period until things “settle down”. Can you imagine all those people with guns heading off into the woods “thinking” they can hunt? It would be a very dangerous time to head out into the woods!