Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bambi shortage?

SurvivalBlog often pokes annoying holes in the plans of people who envision a new career with a colander strapped to their face in some post-zombocalypse world.

One subset of that crowd seems to think that they're going to grab their L.L. Bean backpack and Tikka .308 and head for the hills (or at least out past the 18th fairway) and play Liver-Eating Johnson, thriving on venison that they'll skillfully stalk across the putting greens and through the topiaries.

Of course, anybody who hunts much will tell you that, even here back east where the things are like hoofed rats, the deer herd wouldn't sustain being hunted like that very long, and apparently there are areas of the country where they aren't like hoofed rats:
I've heard from consulting clients in California' Coast Range that deer harvest have dropped to pitifully low numbers in the past five years, because of the depredations of Mountain Lions. (Which have been elevated to protected species status in the People's Paradise of California.) The chances of filling just one deer tag, they say, are now slim except for anyone that has the time to willing to "hunt hard" throughout California's short deer season. So, I ask: If this has happened when there were just a few thousand excess mountain lions, then what will happen when there are an extra 5-to-10 million deer hunters wandering around California, shooting at anything that moves? (The California deer population has already dropped from more than one million to an estimated 485,000. That is not a lot of deer to go around, WTSHTF. And what will happen to the freshwater fishing stocks, when there are hundreds of thousands of set lines being worked, year round?
Good news for your front bumper; bad news for the Lord Humungus. Perhaps he'd be better off planting a garden on the putting green.


Anonymous said...

All those hippies who kinda of like the idea of fewer people on earth probably never considered in/after the sudden contraction phase there's gonna be a lot fewer of anything edible around.

"Silent spring" indeed.

Frank W. James said...

Doesn't this whole subject fall into the category of "Those who fail to heed the lessons of history; GET TO REPEAT THEM"....as in hunter/gatherers versus agriculture?

Doesn't anyone use their critical thinking skills anymore and ask simply why are things the way they are?

Its called "Sustainable Agriculture" for a reason and once its disrupted, it gets ugly real quick...that's why we have this thing called the Chicago Board of Trade to worry about our future supply of edible items.


All The Best,
Frank W. James

Robert Langham said...

Going to be eating people pretty quick after an EMT attack. I hear democrats grill well.

Just kidding among friends Janet....don't send the FBI.

GunGeek said...

When the Mormons went to Utah they pretty much wiped out the Mule Deer in the state. It took a program of importing and careful management to bring them back later.

Here in SC, the DNR says that we can kill 30% of the deer every year and still maintain the same size herd from year to year.

Go above 30% of the deer being harvested (very easy to imagine during particularly hard times) and it starts to shrink.

Brad K. said...

WTSHTF, people will just have to understand that the first priority is going to be kitty stew and kitty coats, to give the deer population some relief.

WTSHTF, much of the road kill pressure will be lifted, too. And after the first week of vegetarians trying to survive without trucking veggies from out of state, and as the unPrepped try to survive without water - much more pressure will be relieved. Some diets will be more readily adaptable.

NotClauswitz said...

That and if your coastal deer hunting ground happens to coincide with Protected Condor Potential Habitat you'll be shooting a $5 solid copper bullet. Another event that has impacted hunting all across California but especially in the coastal condor corridor is that hunting has declined and the state has lost something like $400K in hunting tags going unsold.

Buck said...

Country boys will survive was something I used to hear alot. I liked pointing out too some if you live on .38 acre in town your not a country boy.

Vaarok said...

Long pork is the answer to all your survivalist needs.

Anonymous said...

After just finishing, One Second After, followed by Where the Wild Things Were, I would guess that in a disaster scenario that the deer population would crash (before recovering) and the large predator population would increase. Johnny hunter could very much end up as some big cat's dinner. Long term I would be more worried about the vermin population and feral house cats.

Joanna said...

I would be more worried about the vermin population and feral house cats

Wouldn't the latter take care of the former? And frankly, call me sentimental, but I'd probably release my cat into the wild before I got to the point where she looked tasty.

Bram said...

I got me a deer with my Nissan last year - true even though I'm stealing Ron White.

Come to NJ and shoot all the whitetail deer you want - they are everywhere.

Themadlemming said...

I always figured that, unless you were a nomadic hunter-gatherer, hunting and fishing merely supplemented your crops and livestock. We may have quite a few hungry wannabe survivalist out there one day.

Blackwing1 said...

I question whether it's a problem of deer population, or simply deer "harvest" numbers. I'd be willing to guess (with a complete absence of actual data) that one of the main reasons that the California deer harvest has fallen off is that there are a whole lot fewer hunters hunting. There are a couple of reasons for this, including:

- Fewer young people are getting into hunting at all (social pressure against eating meat, much less killing it yourself).
- The Soviet Socialist State of California has made gun ownership in general increasingly difficult and expensive.

To keep the hunting relatively stable here in Minnesnowta the dot-gov (in the form of the MN-DNR) has recently been changing the regulations making it legal to hunt with barely suitable calibers (.223 and .30-carbine) to try to get more people hunting (women and young people in particular) since us geezers are dying off. Even so, the road-kill problem is immense, and the harvest is dropping even though the deer populations are still very high.

B.S. philosopher said...

I don't see the problem. When the zombie barackacalypse happens mountain lions won't be protected by law anymore. You could get all Dan'l Boone on any large predator you saw.

Big cats are probably pretty gamey, but I bet you could eat them. Or at least cut em up to use on your trotlines.

My plan includes using a .22 more than a high power rifle anyway...

mmm, Possum.

og said...

The best eating is stuff like rabbit squirrel and etc..

Deer is wonderful. How you gonna preserve it if you don't have refrigeration? The urban areas are already chock full of groundhogs and other one or two meal animals. You gonna jerk and carry around a 100 lb deer? I HAVE lived for two weeks (just to prove to myself I could) off a 22 rifle and box of shells, and petersons field guide to edible plants. If you want to lose twenty pounds quick, and open your eyes to how to live when the shit hits the fan, I highly reccomend this exercise. Most times you don't even have to leave home.

WV: "etdad". No kidding. I hope I don't have to, he's been gone a long time.

Anonymous said...


"Going to be eating people pretty quick after an EMT attack."

No, no, EMT's are the nice folks that try to keep you from bleeding out until the hospital can declare you dead.

Yer talking about "EMP".

Tam said...

"I question whether it's a problem of deer population, or simply deer "harvest" numbers. I'd be willing to guess (with a complete absence of actual data) that one of the main reasons that the California deer harvest has fallen off is that there are a whole lot fewer hunters hunting."

That was my first thought, too, but the raw data of reported Bambi/Ford interfaces seems to bear out an abnormally low deer population in Cali.

TX, for instance, is bigger, less densely populated, has fewer roads and more hunters to keep the deer pop in check, and yet a Texan is nearly three times as likely to need to pull a deer out of the grille of her Explorer than a Californian...

George Hedgepeth said...

"Big cats are probably pretty gamey, but I bet you could eat them. Or at least cut em up to use on your trotlines."

Mountain Lion actually taste a lot more like pork steak than you would believe- pretty darn good. This one smelled like a piss ass old barn cat too, but was yummy.

"You gonna jerk and carry around a 100 lb deer? "

They don't weigh that anymore after they are jerked! A friend of mine made jerky out of a whole bull elk in Arizona in the field.

og said...

"They don't weigh that anymore after they are jerked!"

No. They're probably 40 lbs jerked. When the shit hits the fan, you're going to take three days to skin, cut, season, and jerk 100 lbs of meat down to 40 lbs, and then carry that 40 lbs around? I think not.

I like bear too, but it's not a survival food. Think rodents. Fat and protein. Rabbits, squirrel, groundhog, low investement in time and work, just kill, and eat.

David said...

I think your first priority will be surviving the first couple months after TSHTF. After that the human population will be significantly lower than it was before the apolcalypse. With so many less mouths to feed there will be a lot less hunting going on.

But get that garden started fast, My college roommate and I tried to live on antelope meat for over a month. We rapidly got a great barter system set up - trading meat for veggies, fruit, etc. We would swap 2 lbs of antelope steaks for a pan of lasagna. Not only did the all-antelope diet get boring, but our overall health suffered also.

Revolver Rob said...

Call me callous, but I figure that after a point in time. You have to figure disease runs rampant in a city and kills the bulk of the "fleeing to the country" population. Then, you just have to compete with those that made it to the country. Personally, I'm not planning on opening my home up to be a safe haven for those who want to perpetuate the stupidity of man.

Furthermore, I'm not planning on competing fairly for hunting grounds.


Rabbit said...

When you're hungry, meat is meat.

Your rumbling stomach will overrule your preconceived social conventions by that time. Sewer rat *will* taste just like pumpkin pie. I don't eat pumpkin pie, but Rattus rattus broils up pretty good when you haven't had much of anything over the last few days.


mts1 said...

Hey, as long as my unarmed neighbors store up a lot of foodstuff, I'll be ok.

Seriously, I don't foresee a total and complete collapse of things, even with an emp and all. But your world will shrink ultra fast, and your world will consist of the three mile radius of wherever you lay your head at night. Look at the other areas of the world where things "collapsed" - Iraq, Lebanon, Phillipines, Europe in the Plague, even Somalia to an extent - things still cranked along, albeit badly, but still. A small, selfish reason for getting as connected and involved in my Mayberry as I have done over the past few years is to be plugged in and buds with as many as I can, so I have that net built if things do go badly, so I have one or more groups to fall in with for mutual benefit.

But now for the welfare generations in public and Section 8 housing who made a sport of drugs and gangs - they won't be good for anything, even food. Maybe lamp oil, if you bathe them first before rendering.

B.S. philosopher said...

Mountain Lion actually taste a lot more like pork steak than you would believe- pretty darn good. This one smelled like a piss ass old barn cat too, but was yummy.

The old timers down here in Florida tell me that manatee tastes just like high quality grass-fed beef with just the perfect amount of marbling.

LabRat said...

There are a lot more things out there that are meat than deer (Og is right), and you don't need all that much meat to live, but we are still very much dependent on agriculture- the agricultural revolution was as much a revolution of population density as anything else. A book of mine describing most of the history of China put it thusly-

"Get more land to plant more rice. Start big families early so you can tend the rice. Grow more rice to feed all the people. Get more land to plant more rice..."

And that doesn't cover just China, though with the needs of rice they're the clearest example. If we WERE still hunting and gathering, the population would have to be far, far less than it is now...

Stranger said...

'Course, I'm older than time - or so the great grandkids tell me - but I have seen what happens when a respectable population suddenly tries to substance hunt. Once plentiful animals get scarce fast. Even faster than the subsistence hunters get thin.

But "sustainable agriculture" takes a lot of muscle as well. Keep in mind that afterward there will be no fuel, no fertilizer, and very little "motive power.

Will James' "Lone Cowboy" has a highly edited description of what happens when you are left to do your own plowing.

Neither hunting nor agriculture is any more appealing than an unarmed visit to a high crime neighborhood.

But if you are going to try agriculture, look in the 1890's Sears catalogs for practical implements - and the seed catalogs for the most vermin resistant plants you can find.

But that begs the question of your most critical supply. Water.


Joanna said...

Is it weird that I've got a half-formed plan to wrangle up a posse and canvass the local big-box stores for SHTF supplies?

Joanna said...

*After the SHTF, of course ...

Adrian K said...

No, the stupid fracking deer moved to Oregon with the rest of the California infection.

I had 17 near-deer encounters for 23 deer total on my week-long 2,000 mile motorcycle tour through the forest service roads and blue highways of the Oregon Dryside.

That doesn't count the deer I saw standing around amongst the cattle up there.

Anonymous said...

If the SHTF like everybody is describing, and people have to exist on their hunting and agricultural skills (at least for a while, like say a year or two at the most), this should be a pretty good representation of the population centers and density of the US...

Anonymous said...

The numbers seem pretty chilling: drop 90% of the population in a year (more in urban areas and less in rural areas), mid-level prey such as deer booming until the apex predators get established (wolves and the big cats), and wild swings in the census among the smaller critters (coyote, rat, feral cat).