Hunter Gatherer Prepper

The Hunter Gatherer Prepper

Historically hunter-gatherers date as far back as prehistoric times when our ancestors used to forage for wild plants and hunt animals. As part of their preparedness planning the hunter-gatherer prepper learns and practices these hunting and foraging skills to increase their chances of survival should an extreme SHTF event take place.

For example, if a future event in time caused the food chain we rely on to cease to exist, we would once again need to become hunter-gatherers in order to source food. Learning these skills forms an important part of the prepper skill set and without the skills needed to hunt and trap animals or forage for wild edibles our chances of surviving would be at risk.

If a SHTF event does ever happen that results in the end of the food chain as we know it, the hunter-gatherer prepper would be able to use their hunting and foraging skills as a short-term method of providing food. Following on from this they would then look to move on to implementing agricultural methods that offer more long-term sustainable food sources.

Considering Hunter Gatherer Prepper Permanency

When thinking about what would happen post SHTF, it’s natural to assume that we would want to stay in one place and pursue self-reliance through agriculture. Working as a group using tried and tested farming methods would give us a better chance of survival. The group dynamic brings with it a diverse skill set providing many advantages over the alternative of going at it alone.

Many preppers have already successfully put agricultural methods in place and are producing their own food. Moving closer towards self-reliance they are able to stockpile the emergency food supplies they need, but there is, however, no guarantee these food supplies or agricultural methods would survive an extreme SHTF event. If an extreme SHTF event does happen that prevents us from settling in one place and using the agricultural methods we had planned, it could result in having to continue to hunt and gather on an indefinite basis, leading to a nomadic way of life once more.

Circumstances Leading To Hunter Gatherer Prepper Permanency

Before we consider the potential effects a man-made or natural disaster would have on our agriculture and farming abilities post SHTF. We should also consider that there are already signs that climate change and global warming could impact on agriculture and farming in the near future.

Here is an excerpt from the article Game Over for the Climate  written by James Hansen former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and author of “Storms of My Grandchildren.”

“Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated.”

The above excerpt talks about what could already happen in our lifetime as a result of global warming. Now imagine for a moment that some form of apocalyptic event happens that causes far more extreme environmental changes. Consider that these changes may prevent us from staying in one place. If this was the case it’s possible we will have to adopt a permanent hunter-gatherer prepper way of life.

Here are some examples of unpredictable events to consider that could impact on our ability to use traditional agricultural methods.

Nuclear Winter, Asteroid Impact or Super-Volcano

Should a nuclear winter, asteroid impact or super-volcano happen. It could result in the sun being completely blocked out for several years preventing the use of agriculture methods.

Sea Level Changes

Extreme sea level changes would cause saltwater intrusion and loss of land due to mass flooding.

Unpredictable Weather Extremes

Unpredictable weather extremes such as wildfires and landslides would impact our ability to stay in one place for very long. Another example of an extreme change in climate would be a new ice age.

Animal & Plant Life Behavioral Changes.

Extreme weather conditions including significant shifts in temperature can impact the behavior of the animals and fish we hunt. It could also have an impact which plants grow where and when. No longer affording us the luxury of staying in one place.

Hunter Gatherer Prepper Permanency Consideration Summary

Continuing to learn and practice hunting and gathering skills will always remain an important part of prepping. As will the goal of striving to become self-reliant by using agriculture as a means of food production. Although in no way is this article intended to belittle such activities.

Instead, it offers up a different perspective that considers the possibility of having to become permanent hunter-gatherers. If an extreme event prevented us from settling and using agriculture to provide our food, we would no doubt still survive. The human race has long been resilient with its proven history of being able to adapt and evolve. We survive because we keep an open mind and consider such possibilities.

Recommended Reading

Resilience or Death: Preparing Our Farms For The End of Agriculture(…AS WE KNOW IT)


The Coming of Farming

Were we happier in the stone age?

Prepper Knowledge Is Key To Survival

Prepper Bits Prepper Resources Section

6 thoughts on “Hunter Gatherer Prepper Permanency Consideration”

  1. there aren’t going to be many (none) wild edibles in Britain in the winter and very few animals to hunt.
    people had better learn how to grow and preserve food…and fast or else there wont be many of them around to see the following spring.

  2. Hi Jason,

    I don’t want to hog any conversations, but since no one else has chimed in (yet), I’ll chime in. 🙂

    I cringe a little when I hear the phrase “survival of the fittest.”

    I’ve had a few recent…discussions…on some other blogs where it was evident that the commenters had narrowed the meaning of the phrase to mean “the most physically fit.” As such, they put a lot of time into working out. Shirtless selfies are kind of an indicator.

    While they’re right that being heathy is important ( being intentionally fat, weak and sickly is a bad survival plan )- they seem to be putting too much stock in muscle strength. Yes, members of a hunter-gatherer group would need to be healthy enough to handle the migrating, but most of the hunter-gatherer skills don’t require big biceps.

    In fact, I would guess that it would probably be rather rare that a successful hunter-gatherer group would be mostly jacked fighter-types.

    Back to the Indians, their groups consisted of men, women, children and grandparents. While all of the men were expected to contribute to the hunt and group defense, they were not all Rambos. A successful group depended on shared workloads and distributed skills. No one person did it all.

    Without Google and YouTube videos for instant knowledge, the migrating prepper group will need its older folks with their years of experience. There will be wives and children. When someone is sick, others will need to tend to them. Dressing wounds or nursing someone through a fever will be valuable, but don’t take six-pack abs.

    Imagining oneself as the super-buff warrior type is appealing. (perhaps too appealing) It certainly strokes the ego. How many warriors does a successful group need? How many can the hunter-gatherer lifestyle support? If the number is ten, say, and you’re #11, then they don’t need your muscles. You’d better be able to do something else. “Fittest” is the best FIT to the environment, not the most strength. After all, what was stronger than a dinosaur?

    — MIc

    1. Hi Mic, don’t worry about hogging the conversation, an article is only a starting point. It’s great comments that add value to the discussion.

      I get your point about “survival of the fittest” I must admit when I use that phrase I am referring to the fittest meaning in possession of all skills and knowledge required to succeed in the face of adversity. I can however see how this could be taken as a comment referring solely to physical fitness. You’re right to point out that this alone would not be enough. I’m certainly not a super buff warrior, maybe one day :-).

      I agree Working as a group making use of the wisdom of our elders is definitely going to have the edge over a purely physical approach to survival.

      Thanks again for your comments.

      1. I wonder how many would be able to adjust to the permanent hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The native americans were culturally accustomed to it, such that they resisted efforts (like by Presidents Jefferson through Jackson) to get them to give up their wandering style for stay-in-place western style agrarian life.

        People of Euro-western cultural descent have had thousands of years of cultural inertia for the settled agrarian life.

        Not that manual dirt-farming is “easy”, but it does tend to offer a calories-per-man-hour advantage. That was the reason, after all, that early western civilizations transitioned to domesticating grains and livestock. Why walk dozens of miles each day to gather up wild edibles when you could plant some right outside your hut?

        Having the skills to eat as you wander would very valuable, even if making it permanent doesn’t appeal to the whole group. Could be times the group has to migrate a long distance from A to B. Being able to forage en route could mean the difference between arriving alive and dying on the trail.

        — Mic

  3. Hi Jason,

    One of the rather grim realities of the hunter-gatherer life is that the (wild) land can only support a few people. There has to be a LOT fewer peopler per hundred square miles for the hunter-gatherers to find enough to survive on — not just a meal, but enough for year-round, sustainably.

    I was recently researching the history of the Sauk Indian tribe. They, like all the eastern woodland tribes, practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The particular band I was studying spent their summers at a particular spot on the Mississippi river: fishing, hunting small game, gathering wild edibles and raising some basic crops. Their “village” was a summer camp with semi-permanent lodges — more like wood and bark tents.

    In spring, when the shad were running, the Sauk would catch them with fish baskets. Dried fish. In summer, when the berries were ripe, they knew where the good berry patches were and gathered them. Dried berries. Later, when their corn, beans and squash were ripe, they’d process all that too, hoping they had gathered enough to get them through the winter.

    Come winter, they would abandon their “village” for a winter camp out on the prairie. That’s where the bison were. There, they would hunt the migrating bison (mostly). It took many men, on snowshoes, with bows and arrows, to take down a bison. Ideally, they would get enough bison during the winter to provide the band with enough meat and hides for the year.

    Come spring, they headed back to the village to do it all over again.

    They led that permanent hunter-gatherer life. It was a lot of work, always seeking out wherever nature had a temporary abundance. They knew where to look, from years of experience. That said, the Sauk did not always live in northern Illinois. In the early 1600s, they lived along the St. Lawrence in Canada. Pressure (that’s to say, threats of brutality) from the expanding Iroquois empire forced them west, first to Michigan, then later to Wisconsin. The moves were always a response to other neighboring tribes becoming hostile. As the Sauk migrated west, they still had their accumulated knowledge of what eastern plants were edible, what was toxic, how to catch fish and how to grow corn. Their skills went with them.

    But, the land could still only support a few people. This band of Sauk may have numbered 5,000. They hunted and gathered in the upper third of Illinois and half of Iowa. That’s a huge area to support only 5000 people. Some of the band had to be warriors too, not just hunters or gatherers. Neighboring tribes were similarly hard-pressed for natural resources. Trespassing on someone’s hunting grounds was an act of war. Hungry tribes trespassed. War raids happened. It was pretty brutal. Pressure from the expanding European colonies pressed the tribes all that much closer together. It was not a peaceful, bucolic existence.

    This would likely be the fate of prepper hunter-gatherers, post SHTF. A band of a hundred or so would need hundreds of square miles in order to find enough to hunt and gather to keep them alive year-round. Other bands could well be trying to hunt and gather on the same land. Could combat be far behind?

    If the climate shifts more and people have to migrate north to stay in arable land, they’ll likely run into other bands who already live there. Like the Sauk, the well-prepared would have their skills and their knowledge. But, the wild land only grows so many berries, so many rabbits. Deer only have so many fawns. There won’t be enough wild food for millions of displaced city folks — only a few.

    That reality looks really grim.

    — Mic

    1. Hi Mic, thanks for your comments, what a perfect way to start off the discussion on this scenario. Thanks for taking the time to go into detail about your research on the Sauk Indian tribe it provides great insight with regards to what would happen if we found ourselves in this situation. The examples you have given make sense and demonstrate this would certainly become a survival of the fittest situation.

      Thanks Again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

fifteen − 1 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.