Sunday, November 25, 2007

Deer, Turkey, Shotguns, and a Tractor

Happy Thanksgiving! This is my favorite holiday - it really has not been corrupted or commercialized and it is one of two Christian national holidays. Christmas is the obvious one – celebrating Christ’s birth; but Thanksgiving is the other. The Pilgrims were thanking Who that first year? Also, it may interest you to Google President Lincoln’s proclamation and see just Who it was he was giving thanks to as well. It’s a time to spend with family and friends, a time to reflect back on the past year and thank God for all of our many blessings. I hope yours was wonderful.

Not a lot of “words of wisdom” in this one. Just figured I’d share a little of my past few days. Started out Wednesday night helping a friend drag a deer about a half mile out of the deep dark woods – that was a good Crossfit exercise, let me tell ya! When I got home I helped my wife make seven (count ‘em – SEVEN) pies from scratch. Then Thursday morning I instructed and helped butcher the deer from the previous evening. Then I was in full Feast Mode as we did our typical Thanksgiving Day meal. We had a big ol’ turkey, mashed potatoes from the garden, candied yams, stuffing, beans, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pie, pie, pie. This is the first year in a long time I did not stuff myself. I ate a little of everything but I didn’t overdo it. Felt good.

Friday my wife and kids went shopping with the rest of the masses. Unlike most of the sheeple, she had a plan in case Bad Guys tried to ruin the day. Thankfully, they didn’t. I spent the day doing chores and preparing for a defensive shotgun course I instructed on Saturday. The course went fine – we had five students and we were at it for most of the afternoon. It culminated in a scenario / course of fire where the students maneuvered through a house and engaged a whole lot of targets. The course was a basic one and was primarily designed to get the students used to movement, reloading, firing from various positions (a chair, standing, kneeling, crouching, prone, strong shoulder, weak shoulder, behind cars, next to logs) and so on. The picture up there was the 25 yard slug shot to save the little girl – everyone passed.

Today after church I got to do something I have always wanted to do – operate a tractor. Now I know some of you are saying something like, “Sheesh! Ain’t much to it” but others are probably like I was and are wondering if they could. I will tell you – yes, you can. I borrowed it from a friend and he gave me about ten minutes of instruction before he let me go. I brush hogged four of our pastures. By the time I was done I felt like I could operate that puppy just fine. Bam! Another skill for the kitbag.

All in all a fine four days. I hope you had fun also.

I’ll have some “news you can use” up shortly.
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Thursday, November 01, 2007

BoB Theory

Many beginning survivalists start out by assembling a BoB (bug out bag) with which they plan on surviving any potential catastrophe. The initial thought (assembling the BoB) is a decent one. Unfortunately, there is little thought given beyond gathering and storing equipment. Many neophytes think they can assemble a magic bag of tricks with which they can then wander off into the “wilderness” and survive indefinitely – never mind the fact that these good souls don’t even backpack recreationally, let alone practice surviving with minimal equipment for indefinite periods of time.

So I guess it’s time to talk “BoB theory”. First one must recognize the need for a BoB. Not difficult if one has half a brain. The Red Cross, FEMA, and Department of Homeland Security all suggest you assemble a “72-hour kit” in an easy to carry configuration. Even those who live on their own little slice of Heaven (fully operational survival retreat) need BoBs. Something could happen that forces them to depart. Rapidly. In the middle of the night. While it is sleeting. This might be a good time to scroll down and read “Bugging Out” posted last April and “BoB Campout” posted last January.

Once one recognizes the need for a BoB, one has to do some deeper thinking and decide how they envision using this man-portable rescue module. Let me squash one idea everyone initially has – you cannot grab a rucksack full of goodies, move out to the wilderness, and live indefinitely like some erstwhile Robinson Crusoe or 21st century mountain man . Well okay – the vast majority of you cannot. I could, and some of the people I run with could. Maybe. But none of us would want to live that existence. There is absolutely no margin for error when living that way. Robinson Crusoe was a fictional character and the mountain men usually holed up in Indian villages for the winter. Villages with lots of other people and stuff. The good news is that you are smart, you can plan and you can prepare.

The Plan
So, you need a plan. Where are you going with your BoB? Figure that out. Have a few places in mind. Identify multiple routes to get to each location. They should each have everything you need for long term survival. It could be the ranch of your good buddy, Nate, who has been preparing for years (and with whom you have a reciprocal arrangement). It could be a vacation cabin which you have taken the time and gone through the trouble to stock. It cannot however, be a patch of wilderness “teeming with wildlife and forest products.” That is fantasy.

Once you determine where you are going and how you plan to get there you should be able to figure out how long it will take to travel those routes. Now you can start figuring out how much food you need in your BoB. You can determine water sources along the way and decide how much water you need to carry. Terrain dictates clothing and shelter. And so on.

Let’s talk just a bit more about The Plan. The BoB is designed to get one from Point A to Point B (or alternatively, Point C or Point D). It is designed primarily for that but also takes into account Murphy. So I may plan on getting to a specific location but end up spending a lot more time on the trail than anticipated. Such is life. I am prepared for that eventuality. You should be also.

Speaking of clothing... I keep a complete set of clothing secured to my BoB. Pants, shirt, underwear, socks, boots, coat, etc. It is stored in a cloth bag clipped to my BoB. If I jump out of the shower and have to flee I won’t be naked for long. Alternatively, if I start out dressed, I can dump that bag of unnecessary clothing immediately. I used to keep BDUs in my BoB. So did my wife and kids. It was de rigueur in Survivalist circles to wear cammo. I reckon it still is. I no longer use BDUs for my BoB clothing though – I now use “cammo-cammo” which is to say I have packed earth-toned “civilian” clothing. I can still hide unseen in the woods, but I can also walk down the street without being noticed.

I live in a four season zone. About this time of year, I add my winter module to my BoB. I add a heavier coat and set of poly pro long johns to the clothing bag and change out the boots from jungle boots to insulated Gore-Tex ones. Inside/on the BoB I add a heavy sweater, backpacker stove and fuel bottle and a good sleeping bag. I also have a tent standing by that I’ll consider carrying depending on how far we are going.

Medical Supplies
Since the BoB is designed for mobility, my first aid supplies follow suit. I don’t have many things to treat “owies” like Band-Aids and the like. I go heavy on pain killers (OTC), ACE bandages, and tape. I consider caffeine to be a medicine in this regard also – it helps me to press on. If amphetamines were legal for me to possess, I would have them in my BoB as well.

I recommend for “unencumbered” people (physically fit, without small children, healthy, etc) that they keep mostly Go Food in their BoBs. Things that endurance athletes use like Power Bars, Gu, Gatorade and so on. Peanut butter fits in this category as well. You can worry about vitamins and a balanced diet when you get to your final destination. For those who will be unable to walk every waking hour – there will be time to eat more substantial food. When our children were small, my wife and I carried things like rice, powdered potatoes and ramen. We knew we would be taking many rest stops with the kids in tow and would have time to prepare real food. We also carried food that could be eaten without heating water if the tactical situation demanded it.

Which brings us to tactical situations. The best case is for you to be able to proceed from Point A to Point B unhindered and unnoticed. Select your routes accordingly. But stuff happens. Be prepared to blend with the other refugees (that’s what you are while you are journeying from Point A to wherever). Be prepared to hide from bad guys. This may mean camping cold – no fire, no stove, no shelter unless absolutely necessary to preserve life. Give careful consideration to how you will be armed. You will be armed. You probably want to be discreet. But maybe not. At least think it through now while you are warm, dry and well-fed.

I will tell you this: do not plan on expending 300 rounds of ammo enroute to your destination. Odds are good that if you shoot that much you will in turn get shot. Or your partner will. Or your kid. Is it time to go back and re-evaluate your route selection? Maybe.

Which brings us to this: Bugging out should be an option of last resort – but it should be an option. The best situation is to be firmly ensconced in a well-prepared Survival Retreat when TSHTF. You should spend a lot of time and effort towards getting there now. Get a job that allows you live there, work on the place, etc. etc. But even then, you need a plan to leave that wonderful place at a moment’s notice. No fun. I know.

Bugging out to a pre-determined prepared location is the only option currently available to many folks. I would just exhort you make sure the place to which you plan on evacuating is as prepared as possible to sustain you and yours long term. Work on that.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America