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Tips for choosing the best gun for off grid living
When you are looking into the purchasing of a gun for hunting in a wilderness survival setting, there are several factors which should be considered.
Price should not be the main factor but rather the functionality and the compatibility that you have with the rifle.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the best rifle for hunting.
What is your level of expertise?
Some rifles require a bit more experience in shooting and maintaining.
Where you may want to have the biggest, baddest gun available, it will do you no good if you cannot use it.
Does the gun have a scope? If so do you know how to calibrate it and keep the lens clean?
Regardless of what people may think, guns are not just a mechanism where you load the bullets, point, and pull the trigger.
You need to determine your level of experience with guns first so that you can determine the best gun for you.
What is the caliber of the gun?
The second most important factor in picking a gun for your disaster plan/ wilderness survival is to determine the caliber of the gun. .22 rifles have little to no effect in the wilderness game hunting.
Sure, you can get a squirrel or maybe a rabbit with this gun but that is about it. You might as well have rocks to throw at them.
A .30 is not much better but can take down a deer, though a 7.62 is more apt for that. If you really want to go for the power a .300 will bring down about any animal you come across and is commonly used to hunt bear and other large game.
Any caliber higher is just overkill as there will not be safari animals roaming the wilderness.
Consider, bullets leave an exit hole and firing a high powered rifle at a small animal will all but obliterate it.
You want to get a powerful rifle that does not leave a large entry of exit point. This way you can hunt both large and small game as the necessity requires.
Does the rifle take a clip or not?
Remember, everything that you need to bring with you must be in your emergency preparedness kit.
This means that if you need to have clips for the rifle, then they will need to be stored somewhere in your bag.
If the rifle takes bullets without a clip, then you will need to have a place where you can store a few boxes of bullets.
It is more realistic to find a rifle that takes a clip which can easily be stored in your survival gear then trying to find a place to store hundreds of individual rounds of ammunition.
If you prefer to have a gun that does have loose bullets, consider storing the boxes in the side pouches of your survival pack or carrying a few boxes in the pockets of your pants (as it is hoped for that you will have jeans which have several pockets and not just blue jeans).
How heavy is the rifle?
Yes, your physical strength will gradually increase as you become more self-sufficient living off the grid.
However, in the first few weeks or months, you are going to be getting used to the wilderness environment.
It does no good to get a rifle that you cannot hold for a long period of time or one that you cannot stabilize to take the shot when needed.
Know the limits of your strength and find a model which is appropriate for you. There are several different models that accommodate the caliber needs you will have.
A good test it to hold the rifle straight out in front of you for 2 minutes or so. If your arm gets weary quickly, then the gun is probably not a good fit for you
. If you find that the rifle can be held steady and that you are comfortable with the design then check the quality of the manufacturing and purchase it.
How loud does the rifle fire?
In normal hunting situations, the noise put off by the rifle is not that big of a concern.
You are hunting and you have found the game that you are going to kill, so what does it matter if it is loud or not.
Yet, in a survivalist situation you do need to consider the noise of the rifle.
Why is this?
The main reason is that you are in a survivalist situation and do not want to give away your location.
Where it is true that you will probably not be able to shroud your location entirely, a gun that is too loud is like a beacon telling others where you are located and that “there is food here”.
How does the rifle handle outdoor storage?
Ideally, guns are stored in a dry place where there is little to no moisture or dirt which can come in contact with them.
Realistically, your campsite may not have these accommodations.
If the rifle that you purchase requires special maintenance or else it jams or parts break, then it is not a very effective gun for your wilderness survival.
You want to pick a hunting rifle which can be kept in moderate conditions and requires minimal maintenance.
Keep in mind that with any rifle you purchase there will be pros and cons.
You may have to sacrifice the weight of the gun for the proper caliber to get the job done, a clip may be sacrificed to loose bullets on a gun that has a higher precision rating.
You may choose to purchase a blot action rifle and a spare bolt mechanism over a self-loading rifle.
There are many considerations that you should take in to mind.
Above all, you need to ensure that you can carry the gun over the course of your survival navigation and that you can use it properly when required.
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What you need to know to find food in an Urban Survival Situation
Post apocalypse tends to bring to mind a great many images from Hollywood. Perhaps you see Will Smith in “I am Legend” or you see images of “The Walking Dead” when you hear the term.
Both of these are, of course, completely unrealistic images of what will occur should we be faced with a catastrophic event.
As you make your disaster preparedness plan and hone your survivalist skills, you should take considerations as to where you will be able to scavenge for food should a manmade urban situation occur.
Do not go to the Grocery Store
You may think that the best place to plan your food survival strategies would be a grocery store. They are packed with food and they are pretty abundant.
Yet, this is a bad strategy.
First, in an event that there is an apocalyptic event and the military seizes control of “order” then the first thing which will happen is that grocery stores and all other major distributors of food will become the “property of the government”.
This means that your chances of getting the food without a fight or paying extraordinary costs for it are bleak.
Your best bet if you need to get some food quickly is to seek out the small mom and pop stores.
Stores which provide food but do not have an abundance of groceries will have a greater probability of being overlooked in the event of mass looting and government seizure.
Go to an apartment complex
Realistically, our foods will not all spoil on the same day and neither will our food supply evaporate into thin air.
It will be true that a great many people will be forced from their homes (either willingly or by necessity) leaving their pantries unattended.
This is the perfect spot in which to find some food.
Apartments are ideal as they will provide you with multiple residences to search out for your food supplies.
Keep in mind that the “higher class” apartments and condos may have the best selections of food, but they will also draw the most people to them (not for the food but for the looting).
Your best bet is to look for medium to low grade apartments.
People will not really be looking to loot the ghetto or break into the average apartment complex.
However, these people have to eat like everyone else. Abandoned apartments here will be a treasure trove of resources.
Go to the outskirts of town
View an apocalyptic event like a ripple in a pond.
The majority of the chaos and looting is going to be in the central location of the urban setting.
The government and most individuals will be focused on the high population areas first, the government buildings second, the grocery stores and pawnshops third, and then they will start moving outward to the residential buildings.
The last people to be effected will be those on the outskirts.
Look for fields
Generally, if you find a location with a great many fields, you will find livestock somewhere.
Now, I am not saying that you should try to take a cow or any large animal like that (unless of course the site is abandoned and you need the meat), but I am stating that in any place where there is livestock, there is feed, and where you may not want to eat it, you may have to.
Look for feed that is corn based. Also look for seed. If you can find seed then you can grow your own food.
When you look for fields, also look for abandon tractors and farming equipment. If you find these then the field is more than likely a farm like harvest.
Where they may harvest hay, cotton, or other uneatable crops, your chances of finding at least one crop which has a supply of food is probable.
Go to the Dump
If you live in a major urban area (such as New York) then you will know that great deals of usable products are simply discarded because a person does not want them anymore.
If you are starving and having to look for food, one of the easiest places to find it will be the dump.
You should realize that you will have to do a bit of searching.
Most of the food that you find will NOT be able to be eaten without putting yourself at risk for disease.
However, you should look around for things like cereal, grains, canned goods which were discarded because the can was bent (grocery stores usually cannot sell products which are too dinged up), and such.
I would not recommend that you look for any meats here, but you should be able to find something to keep you alive.
Look for houses with closed in garages
If you are in an urban area that has many suburbs, then your food supply may be easier to find then you may think.
Image Source: http://www.normanlgraham.com/garage-remodeling.php
Look for houses which have multi-car sealed in garages.
Typically, these houses are those which have children or who have the need for large storage space (granted there are some that just want it for show).
Garages that have a great deal of space and show signs of the former residence having children are apt to have a freezer or refrigerator in the garage. Looking into these locations may provide you with a supply of meat.
The point is that in a post-apocalyptic situation, there will be places to find food.
It is not going to be like the movies where all the food just becomes rancid and moldy in a day.
Nor will it be that everyone will eat up their whole supply of food and that there will not be houses which have pantries of untouched food.
You just need to know where to look.
Your emergency plan should focus on the areas which are more apt to have food while at the same time having very minimal risks of running into someone securing that food source.
Nutrition is one of the most important ingredients in living a healthy lifestyle.
More importantly consumption of all sorts of nutrition including vitamins and minerals is what helps us keep our vital organs and senses functioning.
Whereas protein is the building block of our bodies, essential vitamins and minerals are what allow us to more than just survive.
Unfortunately, most of us today, especially those in their middle ages are dependent on external sources for vitamin supply since our diets lack those essential quantities of vitamins that only multi vitamin supplements provide.
This is due to the fact that most of the food items in our grocery stores are genetically modified and loaded with preservatives.
For the plant kingdom and the aqua kingdom these are essentially test tube babies.
Consecutive genetic modifications have rendered the items being produced today lacking in the required quantities of minerals.
As you would be well aware Aquaponics is one of the most cost effective techniques for nurturing organic vegetables and aquaculture along with requiring minimal technical expertise.
This makes it all the more easier for people living off the grid to adopt a healthier lifestyle at a cheaper price.
For a health fanatic like me, my aquaponic system is for personal consumption only.
Read on to avoid making some of the mistakes most beginners (including me) make while setting up an aquaponics system.
7) Fewer the components, better the functioning
When aiming to develop an aquaponics system for subsistence rather than commercial purposes, it is best to keep the process as simple as possible.
For example I always prefer a media bed over the NFT or Deep Water Culture since it performs the three basic functions with fewer components required.
A media bed allows for removal of solids, breaking them down and bio-filtration.
Likewise, a media bed allows more support to the plants thus cutting down on the maintenance effort required for someone as lazy as me.
Though not that it is going to be much in the first place, keeping things simple substantially cuts down on the costs too.
6) Better safe than sorry
When setting out to construct one for yourself, don’t take anything for granted.
This is especially true for the components involved because a minor miscalculation or carelessness would hamper the growth of the care intensive plants.
The most integral part is the grow bed.
To be able to grow the widest range of plants the length of the bed should not be less than 12 centimeters.
Likewise, the fish tank should not contain less than a 1000 liters with more the merrier being the rule of the day to allow space for amateur errors.
5) Do not overplant, or overstock
The amount of fish to be stocked in the fish tank and plants to be grown in the grow bed are directly related.
Do not allow more than 0.5 kg of fish for a square meter of the grow bed surface area since either of the two being out of proportion would be a death knell for both.
If there is excess fish then the waste would not be broken down quickly enough and the water would get polluted, while if vegetables are planted in excess there would be a shortage of nutrients and this time the plants will suffer.
Likewise, the quantity of fish compared to water should also be kept under check and should not exceed a ratio of half kg per 25 liters.
4) Keep the fish tank covered
Keeping the fish tank covered serves the dual purpose of preventing dust, debris and dried leaves from falling in the tank and prevents fish from diving out of the water.
For the former, a significant amount of debris over a long period of time will put speed breakers in the pumping system which hampers both the movement of nutrients to the plants and the drainage of water.
Likewise, unless you build a metaphorical fort around your fish tank by raising it a few inches above the water level, there is a high chance of the restless fish jumping out of the water.
Keeping it covered also prevents excess sunlight from seeping into the water which diminishes the risk of algae covering water’s surface.
3) Manage the pH levels
Fish can suffer from acidity too.
Unlike us, it would not be their stomachs that suffer from it, but the environment that they would be living in.
Beware of the media you use in the growing bed since materials such as concrete and limestone can really dishevel the pH levels.
The products I have found to be safest for filling up the bed with are clay balls and gravel.
These materials are largely maintenance free and allow the aquaponics system to become truly self-sustaining farm fish.
2) Keep an eye on the water temperature
Heating up the water is relatively easier than trying to cool it down.
A number of one time techniques can allow the water to absorb heat on its own including keeping your tank dark or better yet, buying a black colored tank since dark colors absorb sunlight with greater ease.
Covering it with black sheets can also prevent excess sunlight from hitting the water directly while also absorbing enough heat to keep the tank warm.
Since my aquaponics system is for personal consumption rather than for commercial purposes I adopt a risk averse attitude and look to farm fish that have high adaptability and tolerance.
1) Prevent obesity and malnutrition
The average diet of an adult fish is round about 1-2 percent of its bodyweight on a daily basis while an underdeveloped one will consume around 7%.
Ideally, the fish should be fed as much food as they will be able to consume in a few minutes, thrice a day.
While excess supply of food will be harmful to the system due to resulting increased amounts of waste, not eating anything is a more worrisome scenario.
The cause is usually a dissatisfaction with the water temperature or pH levels and should be remedied immediately to prevent malnutrition or sickliness which would upset the whole cycle of nutrition transfer and waste management.
Debunking the myth of finding water with a stick
Emergency prepping needs to have a strategy for finding water and maintaining a constant supply of it.
True, your survival gear will probably have water packs. Yet, this water will eventually run out.
Most survival gear/ tactical gear only come equipped with enough water to last you about 3 days (so about 3 liters of water).
Granted, you may have a water filter, but how do you find water? Some have considered the use of dowsing as a viable method for finding water.
This is the method in which you use a forked stick to find an underground source of water).
As a survivalist, you should see that this method is just a myth.
However, here are a few more reasons to convince you to ditch this so called “survival” skill.
There is absolutely nothing in wood that is naturally attracted to water
No wood known to man once it is off of the tree is attracted naturally to water.
There are no magnetic qualities between water and wood which would indicate that you could find water from Dowsing.
If such was true then fallen wood would gain weight when on the ground (as the proximity between the wood and the water would be less meaning the bond would be stronger, much like magnets which are close together).
Do a simple test.
Get a stick and walk by your local water works.
If dowsing really works then the stick should go crazy.
You should not be able to hold onto it as it identifies the massive amount of water.
Of course, this will not be the case, but if you need proof then that is one way to test the authenticity of dowsing.
The law of probability says you will find water, but the results with a dowsing rod do not lean to this
If you get a dowsing rod and start looking for water, then the odds are that you will not find water on your first try.
It could be a few tries before you actually hit some water.
Does this mean that the method works?
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) state why people may think that it does by stating that “the United States is so water-rich you can get wet by drilling just about anywhere if you drill deep enough”
The point is that you will probably hit water, but it is not because a stick told you where the water is. I could just as easily throw a rock and dig where it lands. If I dig deep enough and in enough spaces I will find water eventually.
Even if I find water, it is underground and has to be extracted
From a survivalist point of view, even if a dowsing method worked it is impractical. For one, you will have to locate the water.
As the water would have to have some form of magnetic properties in order to make the stick move to identify the water (unless you believe in the paranormal side of it which I will not even justify here), you would have to remove the contaminants.
Of course, this would be done only after you dig and find the water.
For a trial and error method, the work outweighs the need as you can gather water in far less strenuous way.
It does no good to seek water underground if you are already exhausted, dehydrated, and will lose more water through sweating and such obtaining it.
So why do people think that dowsing rods work?
The majority of the hype with dowsing rods comes from books and movies.
Like a great deal of misleading information, this hype has made its way into being believed as an actual survival skill.
To make the matter worse, certain universities have conduced surveys on the successfulness of using the dowsing method.
Most only show a success rate of 10 to 20%. Again, the law of probability will have to find water some of the time.
The bending of the rod is usually based upon human emotion.
A person is desperate to find water (and in such a situation why would anyone really want to look for water below ground) and so they instinctively start to head to places where water should be present.
Consider, if you are thirsty would you start to head to an area that has lush vegetation and dark soil or to an area which is an open plane with a great deal of dust?
The odds are that you will head to the vegetation if only for the instinctive fact that you know that vegetation requires water.
As you get closer to greener plants you are more likely to move your hands (and therefore the dowser rod) to indicate water.
If Dowsing does not work how should I find water?
Fresh water can be found by looking for thick vegetation.
Look for areas that have green leaves.
If needed, you will be able to find water in the soil of these areas.
However, the easier way to get water is to collect rain water, find a stream, collect dew with some socks or cloth, or gather snow.
Most of these methods do not require the use of your water straw (excluding a fresh water stream). Instead of focusing your methods on a stick, ensure that you hone your survival skills for methods which have been proven to work.
If you are in a wilderness situation this means finding above ground fresh water when possible.
If you are in an urban situation then you need to find water which is not contaminated (such as collecting rainwater from a gutter system or locating the river from which the water was processed before the natural disaster).
There are many survival myths which are circulating. It is your job as a prepper to debunk these myths.
Have a survival guide, do your research, and practice the methods that you learn.
If you find that a method is useless for the area in which you leave, ditch it and find something else which does.
Remember, your survival skills must be catered to your geographic location, the vegetation in the area, as well as the disaster which takes place.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories of solo hikers or bikers that manage to get themselves lost in the wilderness, and then, after battling with nature and its extremes, they return to civilization because of their will to survive and of course – that handy bottle of water.
We humans can only survive around 3 to 4 days without water, while staying alive without food is much easier, because trying to survive in extreme heat conditions can actually worsen your thirst and your body will start craving more fluids.
While over-hydration is not a good thing either, you will still always need a certain amount of water in your body so that your organs can function fluently.
When you find yourself lost in the wild or venturing through unknown and tricky terrains, carrying enough water with you can be hard.
This is why water purification methods have been devised by survivalists who understand how important constant access to clean water is when you are traveling off-the-grid.
However, many people are left regretting the fact that they didn’t know ‘enough’ about water purification, before venturing into the wild.
So here are a few pointers that can help you understand water purification to upgrade your survival chances.
Be Conscious About the Water Sources You Choose
Your best option for retrieving pure water is from sources of clear flowing water from areas where there are no people around, no manmade buildings or any obvious signs of pollution.
When you are making your way through the wilderness and you run across a stream or a spring, you should try to fill up as many bottles of water as you have.
Ponds, lakes, & Rivers
You should know that ponds, lakes and rivers are less ideal sources of water since the first two are water bodies that are stagnant, which means that it may have a lot of bacteria, while rivers can often typically be heavily polluted.
Be extra careful after the area has experienced any flooding, or if there are population centers or chemical plants operating nearby.
Snow & Ice
As long as this is not frozen seawater, ice and snow are also great and instantly available sources or pure, or at least, clean water in the winter season.
You shouldn’t et ice or snow though, since that lowers your body temperature quite a lot and does not do much to quench your thirst.
You should still purify ice or snow after it has melted, but only as long as it isn’t brown, yellow or black in color. Adding snow to a hot pot and melting it will make for an awful taste.
Filtering & Digging for Clean Water
You can also try to retrieve clean water from mud, dry river beds or any other kinds of low lying terrain.
One thing that I haven’t particularly tried but have heard numerous times about is creating a swamp well which is done by digging up a hole and then trying to shore it up back from the shoreline.
The main concept behind this procedure is trying to find bodies of clean water underground which are usually present in excess around other large bodies of water like oceans or seas.
However, while all of the aforementioned ways of looking for clean water are very useful, sometimes you are stuck with very limited options and the only thing that you can do is look for possible purification methods that can help you.
Also, it is never a good idea to plan a risky trip in water scarce areas, because if you get lost, your survival instincts will be the only thing that can help you stay alive.
The best way to purify water is through boiling, and it is also the easiest.
All you need is a little bit of equipment along with a camp stove or a campfire.
You should try to bring the water you have to a full boil until you have rolling bubbles as the pot simmers over high heat, and make sure that you let those bubbles roll for at least five minutes to ensure maximum purification.
Then cool it down and drink up!
Purification Pumps or Filtration
When you make a visit to a camping supplies store, you will find a number of different kinds of filters and purifying pumps that actually enables you to clean water almost instantly.
This can easily be done by squeezing water though charcoal or ceramic filters, after which it is treated with chemicals to become safe for drinking.
There are a variety of hi-tech water bottles available that have this process built in as mechanism, so that water can be purified without being pumped from bottle to bottle.
The purification takes place as you suck the water into your mouth through the head of the water bottle.
Tablets & Drops for Purification
This is a very inexpensive and simple procedure, but the water extracted through this method will not necessarily be the best in taste.
The easiest way of purifying any kind of wild water is simply by dissolving purification drops or tablets in it and then waiting for a few minutes.
You can either use Iodine, which is more common, but potassium permanganate and chlorine can also be highly effective.
You should let the water be for at least 20 minutes after adding these chemicals before you can think of consuming it, and if the taste is unpleasant, use powdered fruit juice mixes to mask the taste.