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Out of Bounds

Not A Doomsday Prepper

The scenes from Florida are apocalyptic. City blocks were destroyed in Fort Myers and much of the surrounding landscape was flooded, first by the storm surge, later by rivers swollen from rainfall as Ian tracked inland.

By Rob Breeding

I’m sad for the tragic destruction wrought by Hurricane Ian in Florida. A good friend is a big fan of the Gulf Coast and often travels to the Fort Myers area to see family and the beach.

She’s not planning a return visit anytime soon.

The scenes from Florida are apocalyptic. City blocks were destroyed in Fort Myers and much of the surrounding landscape was flooded, first by the storm surge, later by rivers swollen from rainfall as Ian tracked inland.

Those conditions may linger for weeks for some Floridians. The lucky ones are waiting for water and electric service to be restored to their homes. About 2 million customers didn’t have power in the days after Ian hit.

Utilities will be the least of the concerns for folks whose homes no longer exist, or were damaged to the point of being uninhabitable. For them, it may be months, or years, before normalcy returns.

I’ve never had to face a natural disaster that left me homeless. Losing electricity for five or six hours is the worst I’ve faced. Well, there was the Bitterroot Valley snowstorm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on Christmas Eve when the twins were young. We were temporarily without a four-wheel drive vehicle and faced a long, snowy lane to reach plowed roads, so we missed out on some holiday festivities, but I could pull on my Sorels and make the short walk to a Super 1 that was open 24 hours. That was inconvenience, not the total breakdown of society.

The truth is, I see myself as a lousy candidate for post-apocalyptic survival. Sure, I hunt, but just upland birds these days. While I occasionally shoot well enough to finish a day with a pile of birds, most of the time I struggle. And even after one of these “good” days, I don’t exactly pile up a protein surplus. I’ve killed eight-bird limits of Mearns’ quail a few times and I’ve learned that a limit will feed a pair of hungry hunters, so long as there are plenty of sides. My gluttony record is six quail in one sitting. 

Keep in mind these limits only occurred a “few” times. For every limit, there are probably a dozen days I finished with two birds or fewer. And I’m not even gonna start on trying to calculate the caloric equivalent of all the fuel I burned driving to southern Arizona for those near bird-less hunts. But you can be sure if my life had truly hung in the balance, those “hunts” would have finished me off.

I did kill a couple elk back in a previous life, a life that included big game hunting. Maybe in those elk-killing days, my hunting approached survival-level efficiency. There were times when the primary red meat consumed by my family of four was elk I had provided, but the duration of those episodes lasted only a few weeks, or maybe a month.

An old friend from my younger, urban California days, who knew me before I started hunting (a different previous life), once joked that I was the only person she knew who seemed prepared to feed myself if modern society crumbled. I was quick to correct her. 

My education in self-sufficiency has done little more than confirm the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I once had no idea how difficult it would be to hunt enough food to live on. After 25 years of active hunting, I now know enough to know that hunting to survive would probably result in my slow death from starvation.

Especially if I tried to sustain myself with quail.

I’m sad for the struggle of so many in Florida and I have few illusions about the difficulty of what they face. Hunting, and fishing, are not the solution, however.

Hunting is for fun, not survival.

Rob Breeding’s website is www.mthookandbullet.com.

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