Or how can I practice effectively for a possible SHTF scenario today?
Lets talk about history
During the great depression, which is a pretty good historical reference btw, after the first year of mass unemployment the number of large game animals in the eastern US dropped to almost extinction levels for the Whitetail deer.
This isn’t opinion, its fact. Seeing deer became similar to spotting a Unicorn in most areas east of the Mississippi river. The problem was poaching, mass hunting for food and just plain loss of farmland habitat.
So, you need to be in a similar situation, with low density of game. But also without having to go through the draw process, loss of bonus points or reducing your chances of getting a tag during the regular draw for a big game tag.
How is the question
How does the average guy get a tag for big game without drawing a tag taking 10-15 years in some cases in the regular draw?
In Arizona that is through Over The Counter (OTC) Elk tags.
In your area its of course different but I’m using the example in Arizona for this exercise. There are opportunities for everyone in every state if you look for them. Don’t wait until opening day to start your research and information collection.
These tags are issued because Elk are migrating to areas where the normal habitat is not normally supportive to Elk and they are unwanted in those areas.
Low density, in large areas with in some cases land owners who have to be persuaded to allow you to hunt their private land.
Like the state booklet states ” these hunts provide opportunity to hunt with family and friends not normally afforded by the draw process”
It also affords you the opportunity to
- Learn scouting for animals in low density numbers- just like a survival situation
- Learn use of people in your group to cover large areas looking for animals, sign, and access to normally closed areas. Just like a survival situation. In my experience, having female members of your group with you making inquiries about hunting private land makes landowners more comfortable, especially if they are hunters themselves.
- Learn about meat preservation techniques in less than great situations. These tags are issued for months with high temperatures and remote areas. You need a plan BEFORE you hunt so you can get your animal out and cooled without loss of meat. Just like in a survival situation.
- Learning to use your maps, aerial photographs, GPS and compass for advanced navigation in the real world.
- Learn about researching land owners, contact information and using social media you can develop a profile of the landowner. This is intelligence gathering and analyzing in the real world. Just like a survival situation.
- Being a predator hunter has opened doors for me in the past. So has hunting rodents. These are usually a problem for different kinds of ranching operations and can get you access to areas other hunters cant. Giving the landowner a service they need is key.
You want to develop the most information about your target landowners as possible.
If they have hobbies, interests, problems happening on their farms/ranches. Possible issues with your target animals as well.
What issues? Moose wreck
Where I grew up Moose became a serious problem for dairy farmers. The moose would destroy fences and maple sugar production gear. Not deliberately, they just walked through it and didn’t care. They would get stuck for a few seconds but then just pull hard and rip out the fence or lines.Moose damaged fence
Cows everywhere was not considered funny. Neither was having the sugar operation gear destroyed.
Bears would get into an orchard and ruin trees and fruit. Or tear up a corn field. Or worse.
Things costing farmers money, they didn’t have and couldn’t afford to constantly repair. So the right research got hunters with tags onto farms they normally would be denied access. The hunters asking already knew the right questions to ask, and what topics to lead the conversation too.
That is actionable intelligence you can use immediately. Just like a survival situation.
Make a plan
Determine where you want an OTC tag
Locate your animal concentrations using information from state agencies, find out where they are, bedding and feeding areas etc.
Locate and gather information about your targeted group of land owners. Learn everything you can about them, the type of ranching they do and the problems they have in the chosen areas. Determine what you can do to solve or assist in 1 or more of the areas they need help in. Volunteer to work the ranch during their busy seasons and you get scouting time while you are there.
Fixing fences is a great way to make a landowner happy, and you get to see where animals cross to different areas. It doesn’t take a wildlife biologist to figure out what they feed on and bedding areas once you figure out the travel routes.
Get out and do it
No excuses, no reasons you cant do it. Locate the resources in your area, go through the steps I’ve outlined and get out and do it.