How would life change if we experienced a major civilization-ending event and were forced to return to our primitive beginnings? The question arises—in such a situation, what food sources would be available and how would we find them? At the present time, we have our high powered rifles, hand guns plus an abundance of ammunition but as time passes, the ammunition would diminish and eventually disappear if we lost the ability to produce more. If no bullets, no use for guns other than perhaps as clubs. What would be the alternatives? If I didn’t have a gun and bullets, what would I use?
Hunting bows have been in use for thousands of years. Some alterations have occurred—the invention of the crossbow and then the compound bow. Early man also hunted with spears, atlatls (spear throwers), clubs or created scenarios wherein they stampeded herds of larger animals such as mammoths over cliffs and the resulting carcasses then butchered. Smaller animals such as rabbits and even birds could be hunted with slings. We re innovative when we have to be.
We would not be the only creatures on the hunt. We would be in competition for the same food sources as the carnivores who roam the wastelands. But as the competition, we would also become the prey. As our available protein sources diminished, there is even the chance we would turn on each other. There are actually over 50 big game animals hunted in
North America. I’ve included a few of the more standard: Pronghorn Antelope, Bears, American Bison, Caribou, Deer, Elk, Mountain
Goat, Moose, Peccary or Javelina,
Bighorn Sheep, Walrus, and Seals to name a few.
What would be in my emergency bag if I was a hunter? A hunting bow, arrows, heavy duty skinning knife with at least 4” blade, something to mask my scent (keeping in mind what is indigenous to the area), and if possible, a length of cloth to cover the carcass after the kill, camouflage clothing as well as a compass and a canteen of water. Baking soda makes a reasonable odor killer. Some natural scents are pine needles, mashed acorns or even dirt. A deer’s sense of smell is 100 times greater than a human’s. Keep in mind wind direction. Downwind from your prey is best when stalking.
If you aren’t one of the lucky ones and have a good bow, hunting bows can created from flexible green saplings of at least an inch in diameter of apple, ash, black locust, cedar, elm, hemlock, hickory, mulberry, sassafras, willow. Cut shallow grooves around either end of the wood about one inch from each tip for stringing. Bowstrings should be approximately 8 inches shorter than the bow. In a pinch, nylon cord, boot string or lacing, but if none available, sinew, silk, rawhide, linen or hemp twisted together. Tie the bowstring to one end locked into the groove. Tie a slipknot at the loose end of the strong, brace the bow (stave) against the ground and slip the knot into the other groove. Make sure the cord is tight and that the stave does not break when bent. Some Indians used hide glue to glue sinew to the back of the bow, making it that much more sturdy. Wrap tape or leather around the middle of the blow to make an arrow rest.
Arrows (I suggest 50 on hand): Hollow reed or willow branches about 3 ½ feet long and about half an inch in diameter. Whittle narrowest end into a sharp point, char the pointed tip over hot coals, cut a notch in the opposite end for a place to rest the bowstring. Fletch the arrow with loose feathers split down the middle and attaching the sides opposite one another. Melted pine pitch makes a good glue.
Early man lived off the land. Much of the foodstuffs eaten by those hardy individuals would be scorned today as inedible and just downright yucky. Insects, rats and snake meat would become the usual fare. People in
Africa still eat
grasshoppers (high in protein). In
they have the annual rattlesnake hunt and feed off the fruits of their labor. Rats
have managed to survive throughout history. Does the idea of rat stew cause
your mouth to water? If a person is hungry, he’ll eat almost anything. Texas
Foraging for edible plant life would also take a good portion of our time. There is an abundance of books on the market about edible and inedible plants and it might behoove all of us to have a few on hand. What plant life is edible? There are the usual, berries, nuts, and wild tubers, but beware, not all plants are edible and some are downright poisonous. Most people aren’t aware that the leaves of dandelyons are edible and tasty if picked when young in salads or boiled like spinach and medicinally can be used to prevent scurvy and other diseases. Certain parts of young cattails can also be eaten in a pinch. I have also eaten watercress picked from high mountain streams. Tom Brown’s Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants is a good handbook to have. http://www.amazon.com/Browns-Guide-Edible-Medicinal-Plants/dp/0425100634
So if a cataclysmic event occurs and we are forced to return to our primitive selves, items that might come in handy and we should all keep several on hand are – running shoes!
Remember, the Mayan calendar didn’t account for Leap Years so in all actuality, the apocalypse should have happened sometime ago!
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Tomorrow, December 19, Water storage/locating water with Alex O'Hurley