A Comprehensive Guide to Home Storage, Bartering, Bugging Out, Weapons, and Self-Defense. Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes.
Let’s face it… prepping has become a glutted niche with thousands upon thousands of survival blogs, books, magazines, and related articles. It’s gotten to the point that it’s almost ridiculous with an unmanageable deluge of information about prepping that’s online and in print with most just repeating what has already been said over and over again. That’s why I put together this massive 11,344-word preppers survival guide. It cuts through all the clutter and gives you everything you need to know to know about prepper food storage, bartering, bug out bags and bugging out, weapons selection, and home and or retreat defense so that you can not only survive but thrive after disaster strikes, whether that disaster is a local natural event or a total collapse of civilization. Are you ready?
That’s why I put together this massive free 11,344-word preppers survival guide. It cuts through all the clutter and gives you everything you need to know to know about prepper food storage, bartering, bug out bags and bugging out, weapons selection, and home and or retreat defense so that you can not only survive but thrive after disaster strikes, whether that disaster is a localized natural event or a total collapse of civilization. Are you ready? Good, let’s get started.
Let’ Start With an Easy to Follow Food Storage Checklist
When it comes to storing enough food to survive, unassisted and on your own for three six-months or a full year or even longer is the point where most new preppers get overwhelmed and some even give up altogether. And while I agree that storing and rotating such a large amount of food on a continuing basis can be a lot of work and takes dedication, it is by no means impossible, and if done right can even be enjoyable – just follow the preppers food storage list below.
You should start with the basics first wheat (or other grains, for those who have trouble digesting gluten), rice, beans, oats, corn, salt, honey, cooking oil and powdered milk.
This is the backbone of your survival diet. Wheat is nature’s longest storing seed, with an indefinite shelf life given proper storage conditions. Wheat (and other grains) can also be sprouted, adding fresh greens to the diet even in winter. If you can’t find hard red wheat (the best kind for long-term storage) then you can order it here in a 40-pound bucket that is already pre-packaged for long-term storage.
Rice is my favorite storage foods and I actually prefer rice over wheat for storage, but that’s a personal decision, and well I like rice and rice dishes. White rice stores better and has a longer shelf-life than brown rice; however brown rice has more nutritional value. Despite the trade-off in storage duration, I still prefer brown rice for storage because of the added nutritional value.
- White Rice in 28-Pound Bucket prepacked for long-term storage.
- Brown Rice in 48-Pound Bucket prepacked for long-term storage.
Beans, corn, and rice combined make a complete food, providing just about everything you need to survive. Add some fresh green sprouts or garden produce and extra vitamin C just to be sure you’re getting enough to avoid scurvy, and you’ll be well fed and healthy.
- Pinto beans in a 41-pound bucket prepackaged for long-term storage.
- Or if you prefer you can order pinto beans in #10 cans that are also prepackaged for long-term storage.
I like to store a combination of pinto beans, black beans, and mung beans. How much you store of each will depend on your personal preferences to taste.
Don’t go overboard when storing oats, about 20 pounds per adult per year is plenty. Oats have a storage life of approximately four to six years, depending on storage conditions and whether or not they have been opened after being packaged for long term storage.
- Oats in a 20-pound bucket prepackaged for long-term storage.
- Oats in a #10 can prepacked for long-term storage.
Corn equals cornmeal, cornbread, cornmeal mush, corn cakes, and a huge list of other foods that you can prepare using the seed. I store whole corn because it stores much better and with at least double the shelf-like of cracked corn.
If you prefer then you can also order cornmeal in a 35-pound bucket that is already prepacked for long-term storage.
While not a food but a mineral, salt, is none the less essential to the diet and individual health. Salt is also used in the preservation of food and animal products. Salt, like wheat, has an indefinite shelf life. Store at least 10 pounds of iodized salt per person, per year.
You can get it prepackaged for long-term storage in a 46-pound bucket.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on salt blocks to attract game animals for future harvesting. You can find these in the sporting goods stores and other outlets that sell to hunters. You can also get these through your local farmer’s co-op, where they sell them for domestic livestock supplementation.
Honey or Sugar
As a sweetener honey makes an unequaled contribution to the diet. Honey, like wheat and salt, has an indefinite self-life. Store at least 10 pounds per person. If the honey hardens and crystallizes, heat it slowly in a double boiler to reconstitute.
You can order honey powder in #10 cans here.
There is some controversy as to which is best for storage in the preppers pantry, vegetable oil or olive oil, while both will work fine and you should stock up on the one that you like best. I recommend putting away, 10 quarts, per person, per year.
Most people turn their nose at the thought of powdered milk, preferring whole milk from the supermarket shelf. Granted it does have a slightly different taste, but it’s not unpleasant to drink, and after a week or two it seems to “grow” on you. Studies have shown that nonfat powdered milk, when packaged (nitrogen-packed) and stored properly has a storage life of 20 years or more.
Stockpiling Hard To Store Foods
I prefer to buy those hard-to-store long-term items like powdered milk, dry margarine, butter powder, buttermilk powder, cheese powder, shortening, and powdered eggs prepackaged for long-term storage in #10 metal cans, from Augason Farms or other reputable survival food vendors.
Supermarket Canned Foods
Canned foods from the supermarket have many advantages when it comes to food storage, they have a decent shelf-life on average of 2-5 years for most products, (note: shelf-life means that the foods retain 100% of their listed original nutritional value up until that point – store bought canned foods remain edible, far past the listed expiration dates in most cases).
As long as the cans aren’t bulging, rusted through or punctured and the foods smell fresh, upon opening then I would not hesitate to eat canned goods that are far past their listed expiration date. But that is a personal choice and one you’ll have to make yourself when the decision is needed.
Store bought canned foods have several advantages over freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, including cost and calories contained per serving. Another advantage is that canned foods already have their own water supply for preparation, so there is no need to use any potable water from your storage.
Despite the advantages of canned foods over freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, canned goods do have some disadvantages in comparison, like, weight, space needed for storage, and shelf-life.
I like to include a combination of the basic foods like wheat, rice, and beans, store bought canned foods and certain “packaged for long-term storage” foods that are hard to store like powdered milk from one of the reputable survival food vendors…
All canned foods should be dated using a permanent marker and rotated on a FIFO (first-in-first-out) basis. I suggest that you build a rotating canned food shelf that will automatically rotate your canned foods when added and pulled from the shelf.
Always keep a notepad beside the shelf or in your kitchen, and write down every item that you take from the shelf and then take the note with you on your next trip to the supermarket, and then buy and restock the items that you’ve taken from the shelf, that way you always have a fully stocked shelf and a fresh supply.
Don’t Forget the Can Opener:
Sure you could use a knife, but a manual can opener is easier and safer – so whatever else you do, don’t forget the can opener. Buy several of the strongest made ones that you can find.
After you get the basic foods listed above in the needed proportions (see below), it is a simple matter to add other foods as you get the extra money.
Canned meats: We all know that SPAM is the preppers go to for a cheap “meat” source that has a longer than average shelf-life, and fat content. Canned hams, tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey are all welcome additions in my pantry shelf – stock-up on the meats that your family normally eat and date and rotate just as you would any other canned food.
White flour: White flour from the store has a much longer shelf-life than does whole wheat flour because it has been “processed” which removes the oily germ, but unfortunately this “processing also removes the nutrition.
Processed white flour has a shelf-life of over five years if kept dry and safe from pests (like the meal moth). Mill moths get into the flour, lay eggs and those eggs turn into flour weevils, which ruin the flour. Look for tiny dark specks in the flour, as this is the first sign that the flour has been infested.
If it clumps together because of settling, just break it apart and run it through a sifter before use.
Store flour for long-term storage in airtight containers, with oxygen absorbers, added – see details below. You can also freeze flour that has been put into five-gallon buckets. Freezing will also kill any meal moths that happen to have been trapped inside before they can do any damage to your flour.
Most of my “flour” is in the form of whole wheat berries, that I have to mill (grind) before use, but I do have some processed flour in my pantry, for lazy days when I don’t feel like grinding whole wheat into usable flour.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a good source of fat and calories and has a decent shelf-life. Peanut butter is also an energy food and one that I always take on hunting and camping trips. Unopened peanut butter will last for years.
Spices: Be sure to include a good selection of spices in your food storage. Spices can make even the most awkward foods palatable, and help to alleviate food boredom. Cinnamon, Turmeric, Paprika, Ginger, Oregano, and Garlic are my favorites and make up the bulk of the spices in my pantry.
Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast: Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast (keep yeast frozen to extend shelf-life) are also essential since you’re storing and baking using unprocessed grains.
Dried pasta: Dried pasta will keep indefinitely if kept dry in bug and rodent proof containers.
Comfort Foods: Storing a sufficient amount of “comfort foods” is very important, to your psychological well-being as well as to alleviate “food-boredom” that is sure to set in after eating only storage foods for several months. Comfort foods are even more important if you have children or need to care for the elderly.
Consider comfort foods such as – Jell-O, instant pudding mix, cake mix, hard candies, chewing gum, Spaghettios, mac and cheese, brownie mix, canned spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes, popcorn, cocoa, tea, coffee, powdered juice mixes, sunflower seeds etc. And remember to date and rotate on a FIFO basis.
We crave variety and having a supply of familiar comfort foods can go a long way toward retaining our sanity and self-worth during a long term disaster. You can only deny yourself for so long before desperation and depression start to set in. Life will be difficult enough – give yourself a treat. You deserve it.
It is a proven fact that if we are forced to eat foods we don’t want or the same foods for extended periods – just to stay alive – dissociation begins to set in. We start to float away as an escape – we still eat to survive, but suffer a lack of focus and become disorientated in relation to our surroundings.
This is dangerous in a survival setting. Don’t think it can happen? Try eating nothing but beans and rice for three months, and you’ll see what I mean. Having a supply of comfort foods can help by providing at least some form of normalcy to your life.
Older folks and children will have the hardest time adjusting to new or unfamiliar foods, with many refusing to eat altogether, especially if the food is unnecessarily bland or unappetizing. Comfort foods will help them cope.
Vitamins: To ensure that you’re getting a sufficient amount of needed daily vitamins and minerals for optimum health, you need to stockpile a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Also, consider extra vitamin C and D. Vitamin D is of extra importance if you’re forced to stay inside (bugging in) for a longer than usual period of time and thus are unable to receive the needed vitamin D producing sunlight that is required for optimal health.
Don’t Forget about Your Pets: Don’t forget to include a sufficient amount of food in your stockpile to feed your pets. A decent dog will increase your chances of survival because they can hunt and alert you to trespassers and other trouble. I prefer smaller dual-purpose breeds, with my choice for a working dog being the Jack Russell terrier.
A Sample Three Month Food Storage List for One Adult
- Wheat 75 Pounds
- Grains, rice, oats etc. 25 Pounds
- Canned meats 5 Pounds
- Canned margarine, powdered eggs etc. 2 Pounds
- Dried beans, peas, lentils, etc., 6 Pounds
- Dried fruit juice and concentrates 6 Pounds
- Dried fruits or canned 25 Pound (if dried, then equal to this fresh weight
- Comfort foods 3 Pounds
- Non-fat dried milk 25 pounds
- Peanut butter or substitute protein/fat source 3 pounds
- Dried potatoes 12 pounds (equal to this fresh weight)
- Salt 2 pounds
- Shortening oils 3 quarts
- Sugar or honey 12 pounds
- Canned or dried vegetables 9 lbs (if dried, then equal to this fresh weight)
Please bear in mind that the above list is only a sample to help you get started, the most useful food storage list is the one that you put together yourself. After all who knows better than you, what you and your family, likes to eat and in what amounts.
Where to Put All this Food?
After reading the above recommendations, you’re probably asking yourself where in the heck, you’re going to store all of this food. Well, that’s a good question and one that you alone can answer for your situation better than anyone else, but I’ll make a few suggestions that I hope will point you in the right direction.
The absolute best place in an underground bunker, root cellar or basement, unfortunately, most people don’t have any of those and have to make due with other less ideal storage options… Consider a spare bedroom, attached garage, detached storage building on your property, or as a last-resort a nearby storage unit rental.
If at all possible put in an underground storage area of some sort to keep you storage foods safe (and you) safe from weather extremes, as well as the main enemy of your food-storage shelf-life; heat. An excellent option, and inexpensive when compared to other suitable alternatives is the buried shipping container.
How to Store Dried Beans and Grains at Home for Long-Term Storage with Oxygen Absorbers & Mylar Bags
I store all my grains, beans and other dry foods (besides sugar, salt or sprouting seeds) inside food-grade five-gallon plastic buckets. There is some controversy over what is and isn’t food grade. Most buckets with #2 inside a small triangle on the bottom are food grade, but not all – the only way to be reasonably certain is to contact the manufacturer and ask.
I buy mine from the local hardware store in the paint department. They also have them at my Wal-Mart, but, I prefer to buy from local business owners if possible. Sometimes they can even be gotten free from bakeries and restaurants, just be sure they only held food products – not paint, chemicals or other things that can make you sick or dead.
Foods packed in oxygen don’t store as well as those in an oxygen free atmosphere. Oxygen absorbers work by removing the air from the enclosed container, leaving an atmosphere of 99% pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum inside the buckets.
Don’t open the bag of oxygen absorbers until ready to use because they will absorb oxygen from the surrounding air and become useless. Have everything ready to go before you open the package. Any unused oxygen absorbers can be stored inside a small canning jar until needed.
Be sure to have everything ready to go before you start. Line the inside of the bucket with an appropriately sized Mylar bag these will help to keep light and moisture out extending the storage life of the foods inside.
The Mylar bag also offers a layer of protection between the food and the plastic bucket, if for some reason the bucket that you’re using isn’t considered food-grade.
Pour the food into the buckets a little at a time, shaking each bucket as it is being filled to settle and distribute the contents. Fill each bucket to about ½ inch from the top and throw in one 2000 cc oxygen absorber in each five-gallon bucket of food.
Now to seal the Mylar bag – first roll the top of the bag closed on one end leaving an opening at the other and press out any air that has been trapped inside, next place a 2×4 across the top of the bucket and pull the Mylar bag over the 2×4 and seal with a clothing iron set at the highest setting in a typical ironing fashion across the board.
Quickly put the lids on each bucket and pound shut by laying the board on the top and striking with a hammer or rubber mallet. After a few hours, the absorbers will create a vacuum that will cause the lids on the buckets to “pop down” indicating a good seal and a proper atmosphere for long term storage. Be sure to label each with date, content, and weight, written on the front with a permanent marker.
Useful Resources and How-To Articles
- Augason Farms
- How To Get a Family of Four Prepped for The Coming Collapse – In The Quickest and Easiest Way Possible…
- 12 Must Have Prepper Tools For Surviving TEOTWAWKI
- The Prepper’s Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How
Okay, Now Let’s Put Together Your Bug Out Bag
There has been a lot of talk over the years about bugging out, bug out bags, and bug out bag lists. The subject of “bugging out” is bound to come up in any conversation about survival preps and every survival blog has at least one article posted about how to put together a bug out bag.
Why Bug Out?
The subject of bugging out and bug out bags (some preppers refer to this kit as a bug out backpack) is a popular one and for good reason, disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, flash floods or another natural disaster, could force survivors to “head for the hills” in search of safer ground.
We are constantly threatened by a series of potential disasters, both natural and man-made. It seems like we are being threatened from all sides, and sometimes, I admit to feeling like just throwing up my hands in despair and just giving up. It’s easy to give up. But I shake it off and prep harder than before. I’m funny like that…
We also face a series of potential long-term disasters including, ecological collapse, economic collapse, agriculture disaster, war, plague, pandemic, an overly oppressive government or any number of disasters that could force the need to seek safer footing or even hide-out in the hills long-term.
Bugging Out Vs. Hunkering Down
If you’ve read my article bugging out vs. hunkering down then you already know that bugging out to the hills should be your last option when you have no other choice.
Bug out bags should be considered as a temporary survival plan or as a backup at best. You should keep in mind if you are forced to leave your home or retreat; you have essentially made yourself a refugee, which is the last thing you want during hard times.
A bug out kit will keep you alive for a few days, or weeks… then what? You had better have a way to supply your basic needs after exhausting the gear contained in your bug out bag contents.
Keep in mind that we are not talking about bugging out from the city to a pre-set-up and well-stocked retreat in the hills, if this is your plan then you might not need a “bug out bag” since you can just load everything into your car and take off. But still having the bug out bag essentials, i.e. life-saving gear in a pack or kit that is ready to grab and go is a good idea if you have to abandon your bug out vehicle and head out on foot.
It would be great if you already have a stockpile of food, medications, and gear waiting for you at a mountain retreat, let’s just hope that you can actually, get past the blocked roads, carjackers, checkpoints and other hazards that will be met along the way get there, unscathed.
If you do somehow, manage to make it through, all of the en-route hazards to your well-stocked retreat in the hills, still don’t be surprised when you’re “greeted” at the door by another family or group that has already, moved in. What would you do? They may outnumber you and be better armed… Will you walk away? Will you stay and fight for what is yours?
If at all possible, move to your retreat or relocate to a safer area now – before disaster strikes. Learn to grow your own food, raise small livestock and get to know your neighbors. I just hope that it’s not too late in the game for you to make the move. Time is running out and deep down I think that it’s already too late to relocate…
Bugging Out and Putting Together Your Bug Out Bag
Anyways, back to bugging out and how to put together a bug out bag…
Some survivalist aka “preppers” look at this type of bug out kit as an “escape and evasion” bag. Where they will use the kit as a grab and go bag that will be used if they’re forced to head out to the forest and mountains to hide from danger – for most this is a flawed idea.
Living completely free of civilization, scrounging for food and shelter in the forest, mountains or desert for any significant length of time can be done, under the right conditions, by some people. But it would not be easy and the constant struggle to stay alive would be more than many could handle and most would not make it very long.
But when you’re left with no other option, besides stay and die or bug out to the hills and maybe survive a few extra days, it’s worth a try, and having a “bug out or escape and evasion bag” ready to go will give you a better chance of making it…
The prospect of the hidden cave or dugout stocked with survival supplies should be a considered. Having a hidden cache of essential survival gear could mean the difference between death and survival if you’re forced to head for the hills.
I have several cache tubes hidden around my area and have been working on putting in more. I will only leave my home/retreat if I have no other choice. I would rather stay and fight then run and hide, but if I have to run and hide, the hidden caches will give me a better chance of making it…
If it’s a natural disaster, where help will be on the way, but you have to leave for you immediate safety (say a hurricane is heading your way) would a friend or family member in a distant town take you in? You need to have a “disaster buddy” in another area, but still reachable in a few hours’ drive, with whom you’ve already made plans and have an agreement with, where if a disaster happens in your area that you can go to his place to wait it out and vice versa.
A government shelter, not for me thank you. I want to stay out of the FEMA camps. And who wants to be dependent on the government for their survival anyways? Not me. But then I’m one of those “wrong-headed” Americans who would rather trust their own wits and skills than the government to take care of them after a disaster (or anytime)… They just hate that.
What You Should Have in Your Bug Out Bag
Okay, so what should be included in a bug out bag? Well, that depends on you personally – you’ll have to consider things, like your location and where you’re going, your health, your skills, and time of the year. That’s why that there’s no one bug out bag list that fits all needs and individuals. But by looking at the bug out bag lists that have been put together by a number of different people, we can get ideas to work with and expand our bug out bags for our personal location and needs.
What’s In My Bug Out Bag
Okay, since we are talking about bug out bag lists, I’m sure that you’re probably wondering what is in my bug out bag. Well, I’ll show you… below are photos of my bug out bag contents. Hopefully, the photos will help you or someone who you know put together your own bug out bag.
Bug Out Bag Firearms for Hunting and Self-Defense
Most people will suggest a .22 caliber rifle, such as the Ruger 10/22 and this is a great choice. A .22 caliber rifle can take small game as well as larger game such as deer with proper shot placement.
Another advantage of having a .22 Long rifle is the relatively low noises when fired especially when using CB caps and the ability to be effectively silenced with a homemade sound suppressor aka “silencer”. Just remembered that such a device is illegal without proper government approval and will land you behind bars if caught, and is suggested here for a worst case scenario only or after you have gone through all of the legal hoops.
The downside of the .22 Long rifle round is the limited range, penetration and stopping power all of which limit the rounds effectiveness when used for self-defense. I suggest a backup handgun chambered for a cartridge suitable for self-defense. I would not go below a 9mm or 38 special and then us good expanding ammo.
Even with a 9mm and 38 special, you should seriously consider using only the +P rounds such as the 115 or 124-grain JHP +P in the 9 mm or 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point .38 Special +P for defensive purposes.
Your location would also determine weapons choice. For example, those bugging-out in grizzly country should consider something more powerful than the aforementioned 9mm or 38 special.
My first choice for protection against such large game would be a center-fire rifle chambered for 308 or larger. My second choice would be a magnum revolver with a 5.5″ to 7.5″ barrel chambered for .44 Magnum or larger.
It is wise to avoid any armed confrontation if possible. Trust me you are not a coward if you avoid the possibility of being shot or having to shoot someone else. You are not expendable – neither are the lives of your family or those in your bug out group. Those with the macho kill ‘em all attitudes will not last very long after the poop hit’s the fan.
With that being said, a semi-auto military style rifle should be considered especially if you are trying to get from an urban area to the country, where facing organized gangs or other threats attempting to block your exit could be a possibility.
An AR-15 with collapsible buttstock or folding stocked AK-47 (for compactness and concealability) could help get you out of a dangerous situation if pressed into one while taking up little space and not adding significant weight to your overall survival gear.
I hope that you’ve found this article on bug out bags, and bugging out useful and can put the information above to good use – please share this article with your friends and social media contacts.
Weapons For Home Defense and Foraging
Now That You Have Your Bug Out Bag Stocked With Food and Gear let’s talk a little more about weapons for self-defense and foraging.
In this part of this article, I’ll be talking about choosing the right firearms for self-defense, and for foraging. I’ll try to keep this as short and to the point as possible while still covering everything that you really need to know, in order to make an informed decision when buying and learning how to use those tools to feed yourself and your family.
No foraging arsenal would be complete without at least one shotgun. By simply changing shot loads or moving up to slugs the shotgun can be used to take every game and predatory animal in North America out to 100 yards. And let’s not forget that a pump-action or semi-auto shotgun loaded with buckshot or slugs makes an excellent self-defense tool, especially if the shooter knows how to use it to its maximum effectiveness.
The shotgun that you choose for foraging purposes need not be expensive; the simple single-shot break-action shotgun is an excellent tool when foraging for food, and best of all they can be bought new for under $200 in most areas, are light-weight and extremely rugged and reliable.
Add a carry sling and a way to carry some extra ammo (I like the Voodoo Tactical Shotgun Shell Ammo Pouch) and you’re ready to go foraging for small game, foul or even larger game if the opportunity should present itself.
Ammo selection will, of course, depend on what you’re hunting for; I like to keep several different types in my sling loops, where I can quickly get to it and change out one round for another if needed. Say for example; that I’m hunting rabbit, and happen to spot a deer in the distance, it’s a simple matter to quietly and quickly, switch from a chambered shot-shell (I like #6 shot for small game) to a rifled slug and effectively and humanely take the deer.
For self-defense purposes, I suggest a pump-action or semi-auto (I prefer the pump-action but there are also some good semi-autos available) shotgun in 12 gauge, however, for smaller shooters a 20 gauge will suffice. There are so many great brands and models available that it would take several chapters to go into any detail on each, so I won’t waste your time doing that here.
Two of my favorite pump-action shotgun manufacturers are Remington and Mossberg, with my personal home-defense shotgun being a Mossberg model 590 with ghost ring sights and speed-fed stock. In my opinion, the Mossberg 590 is the best “out of the box” pump-action defensive shotgun available today.
No survival “arsenal” would be complete without at least one high-quality .22lr caliber rifle. Because there are literally, hundreds of quality brands and models available, I won’t take up your time by trying to go over the details of each one here, but I will instead mention several of my personal favorites.
My first choice for a semi-auto .22lr would be the Ruger 10/22 takedown model; this is essentially the same rifle as the super trusted and reliable standard 10/22 but with the ability to be taken apart for transport and storage.
My first choice for a bolt-action .22lr is the Ruger American .22lr with 18-inch barrel. It’s well made with fewer parts to break than a semi-auto, and I’ve found it to be more accurate out-of-the-box than any standard our-of-the-box semi auto .22lr that I’ve tested it against.
Another one of my favorite .22lr rifles is the Smith and Wesson MP 15/22, mine has been ultra-reliable after thousands of rounds, and is a perfect training tool for new shooters or for cheap live-fire practice for AR-15 owners. However, it’s not my first choice when small game hunting, the .22lr that most often accompanies me on small game hunts is the Ruger American .22lr mentioned above.
My first choice when adding an optical sight (scope) to a .22lr is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope. I’ve tried other cheaper (and a few more expensive) alternatives when scoping .22lr rifles and found the Nikon ProStaff to be the best option.
Here again, I’ll not waste your time by trying to cover 101 different manufacturers and models of centerfire rifles but will instead elaborate on my two of my personal favorites.
For hunting larger game in my area (Tennessee) I don’t need anything more powerful than a .308 win, however, if you live in grizzly and moose country then you may want to move up to something like a .338 magnum or similar to be sure of a clean and humane kill.
My first choice for a .308 semi auto is the Smith and Wesson M&P 10. The M&P 10 is built on an AR type platform with a standard 20 round magazine. I’ve found it to be a well-made, accurate and reliable rifle. It can be used for both hunting large game and as a main battle rifle, however, the current, 2015 price tag of over $1,600 will no doubt be a road block for many (I had to save for almost a year to afford it).
My first choice for a bolt-action .308 is the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, but with a standard rear mounted optic sight instead of the forward mounted “scout” configuration.
All of my .308’s are topped with the Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC) optics and also have backup standard iron sights and a sling. If you’re serious about using a rifle for the defense of your property and for hunting then please get a copy of “The Art of the Rifle” by the late Jeff Cooper, it’s a great book that is full of tips and advice that will help to increase your on target accuracy.
This is one of those subjects that I hate to even get into here and that I purposely, avoid discussing in public because it never ends well because nearly everyone has their favorite and are unwilling to consider anything else. I too have my own personal favorites, but I’m not like some and unwell to consider other alternatives if something was proven to be better, or just as good but at a better price.
So like we’ve already done above, instead of going into a hundred different manufacturers and models, I’ll only, tell you my favorites that have proven to work for me after years of shooting, hunting, plinking, and competition.
Well, start with the .22lr – of which my favorite is the Browning Buckmark. This is the top .22lr handgun made today, period. I’ve carried mine all over the forests of Appalachia and can shoot it accurately enough to make head-shots on cotton-tail rabbits at 50 yards.
I have no idea how many rounds that I’ve put through mine but it has to be ten-thousand or more and I’ve never had a failure that was not ammo related.
Another excellent .22lr handgun is the Beretta 21A Bobcat. The Bobcat isn’t ideal for small game hunting or self-defense, but it’s weight and compact size will allow you to have it on you at all times, and any handgun that you have with you is better that the one you left at home or back at camp because it was too large, heavy and inconvenient to carry.
I carry mine when I’m on the river fishing, camping, hunting ginseng or just working around the homestead, it’s weight and size make it easy to go armed at all times. The Israeli Mossad has proven the effectiveness of the .22lr as an offensive/defensive tool with its use of the Beretta 70 in .22lr. The Beretta 70 is also carried by Israeli Sky Marshals.
By far my favorite centerfire handguns are made by Glock, however, they’re not the only quality choice on the market, there are many different handgun manufacturers that products worth considering. The most important consideration is to purchase the handgun that fits your hand best. If the handgun fits your hand correctly, you’ll naturally shoot it more accurately.
Out of the Glock line up my favorite model is the Glock model 19. The Glock 19 is a medium-sized 9mm handgun that is the perfect size for open carry, in a belt holster, yet small enough to be carried comfortably concealed under summer clothes. Another plus is that the Glock 19 has a 15 round magazine capacity, which is comparable with other, larger and heavier 9mm handguns such as the Berretta 92.
When it comes to ammo choices and “stopping power” there are just as many opinions as there are for handgun choices, but my personal carry load in a 9mm round is the Corbon 115-grain +p. Ballistics for this round is close to those produced by the 357 magnums and it is a proven stopper according to both ballistic research and actual real-life use.
Air rifles are often overlooked by survival planners and this is unfortunate because they have a lot to offer, with the most notable being the ability to quietly take small game out to approximately 35 yards.
However, to get this kind of performance from an air rifle you’re going to have to look past the $45 models like those often seen at Walmart, these don’t produce the energy or velocity that is needed to cleanly take small game. You’ll probably have to spend over $150 at current prices before getting one that will do take small game effectively.
My personal choice and the one that I’ve taken the most small-game with is the Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston .22 caliber air rifle. I’ve found the .22 caliber air rifles to provide much better on target effectiveness i.e. dropping small-game in their tracks, than those in .177.
The Benjamin Titan GP .22 caliber air rifle features a 19 inch fully rifled barrel and a muzzle brake, both with a nice looking deep blued steel finish. I also have a Ruger .177 caliber air rifle and comparatively the finish on both the metal and stock is much nicer on the Titan GP.
As with most air rifles of this type, the Titan GP has no iron sights but the rifle is grooved for mounting an optical sight. The addition of a good set of metal sights would significantly add to the overall functionality and dependability of the rifle.
But as a rule, I prefer all of my rifles to have the choice of iron sights, as well as scope-mounting with, see through mounts. Scopes can break, become fogged, lose zero etc., and the ability to quickly change from one sighting option to the other without losing the target aids greatly to the utility of any rifle.
The Titan GP features an ambidextrous thumb-hole stock with dual raised cheekpieces, and while well designed, I found the reach from the grip to the trigger to be a bit long. But, this would not be a problem for shooters with larger hands or longer fingers. Even with the longer reach to the trigger from the grip, I have no problem pulling the trigger or shooting the rifle.
The rifle also has a 2-stage adjustable trigger for fine tuning to the needs of each shooter; however, I found the factory setting to be very good for my needs so I left the settings as is. But, an adjustment is an option and a welcome addition that I’m sure many will find very useful.
One of the main selling points of the Benjamin Titan is the Nitro Piston system and a velocity of up to 950 FPS. The Nitro Piston offers several advantages over rifles with a metal mainspring system, such as smoother cocking, no spring fatigue, reduced vibration, functions well in cold weather and the Nitro Piston system is also much quieter.
In fact, the Titan is noticeably quieter than my other air rifles and is much quieter than my Ruger air rifle which is the loudest of the lot.
Bows, Arrows and Blow Guns
I’ve used blowguns for small game since I was in my early teens, and I can assure you that they’re not toys, far from it. In practiced hands (and lungs) the blowgun can be used very effectively, to take small game and are much more accurate and deadly than the slingshot.
There are currently three sizes of mass marketed blowguns in the U.S. one in .40 caliber, .50 caliber, and .625 caliber diameters. Each has different advantages over the other, but I prefer the .40 caliber versions because I’ve found that I can shoot them further with more accurately, and haven’t noted any difference in effectiveness when taking small game.
Fortunately, blowguns are priced so cheaply that you can buy several (or make your own) to see what works best for you. If you’re interested in finding out a wealth of information on blowguns, and how to make your own Michael Janich has an excellent book available to help you with that it’s called “Blowguns: The Breath Of Death” and covers everything blowgun related.
Another favorite weapon for foraging is the bow and arrow. In skilled hands the bow and arrow can be used to take both large and small game and like with the blowgun you can make your own. However, it’s likely that nothing that you can make in the home workshop will compare to the power and velocity of commercially manufactured compound and crossbows.
Bows are like handguns in that you should try out several before deciding what works best for you. Personally, I prefer a more traditional recurve bow with a 45-pound draw weight over a compound, but that’s a personal choice and only one that you can make after gaining experience.
Now Let’s Take a Look At Barter Items
What would you have to trade in a survival situation?
The first thing to consider is what items do people need and use every day, followed by will they need these things after a long-term disaster and if so will those items be readily available when the resupply lines are cut. If not, then would those items be easy to make from other everyday items?
These are the questions I asked when putting away my own barter items – those are included in the list below in no order.
While I don’t advocate bartering most ammo after a collapse simply because that ammo could be used against you. Stop and think about it, if a person needs to barter for ammo in the first weeks and months after a collapse then it’s evident that that person has not prepped and will need other stuff, stuff they figure that you now have and there is no guarantee that they won’t use the ammo that you traded them at a later date to kill you and take your preps for their own use.
The exception that I make with ammo for barter purposes is for shotgun ammo. I’ve stocked up a large amount (500 rounds) of 12 gauge bird shot in #6 and smaller shot sizes for barter purposes. Sure birdshot can kill someone, however, it’s low penetration and short range make it one of the least threatening ammo types that can be stocked up and used for barter purposes.
2. Water Filters
Fresh, clean drinking water will always be in demand and while storing water for barter might not be feasible for most people it’s easy and takes up little room to store water filters such as the life straw. The life straw is an excellent barter item, that is easy to store, has a long shelf-life and is small and lightweight meaning that 25 or more of these types of water filters can be stored in a small space life a military ammo can.
3. Garden Seed
Seed to grow food is one of the if the best barter items that you can have on hand post collapse. I store both non-hybrid seed as well as hybrid vegetable seed for barter. Seed is light-weight and inexpensive but will be worth more than gold to a survivor who is trying to barter for those seed after the balloon goes up. But, before, you go out and buy a bunch of seed for barter (or for your own use) do some research on what grows well in your local area. Another thing that I’ve done is print off copies of the PDF guide “Planting a Home Vegetable Garden” to handout when bartering with vegetable seed because most people have no idea how to plant a garden and this pamphlet will give them more confidence in their own ability to take the seed and grow food. This will help them to be successful as well as increase the perceived value of the seeds when you’re negotiating your barter deal.
4. Solar Panels and Rechargeable Batteries
Wow! Wipe that look off your face, I know what you’re thinking… solar panels… those are expensive and I can’t afford those for myself let alone stockpile enough for barter. Well, in some cases you would be correct, however, I’m not talking about expensive 200-watt panels, no not for barter, what I’m talking about here is smaller solar chargers such as the C.Crane 11-in-1 Solar Battery Charger priced at $24.99 each or the SunJack Portable Solar Charger with a SunJack USB Battery Charger for Rechargeable AA/AAA Ni-Mh and Ni-Cd Batteries for under $60 dollars. You can also set up a charging center where people can bring you their batteries to charge and you use your solar set up to charge their batteries in exchange for goods.
5. First Aid Supplies
You could stock up on individual first-aid items such as bandages and gauze and while that’s a good idea, I’ve also stocked up on premade first-aid kits for barter. These kits can be bought for under $20 each now but post-collapse would be worth much, much more. Don’t forget about antibiotics – you can get antibiotics here and find out more about their use here. If you have medical skills (or someone in your group does) then those medical skills will be in high demand and can be bartered for just about anything that you need.
As mentioned above in item number five medical skills are and will continue to be in high demand after any major disaster especially a long-term disaster, however other skills will be in demand too. Skills such as carpentry, auto and shop mechanics, sewing, firearms repair etc will be in high demand and those skills can be bartered for goods that you need. Don’t forget to put back the tools you’ll need to get the job done in the best, quickest and safest way possible.
7. Toilet Paper, Baby Diapers, and Tampons
Toilet paper, baby diapers, and tampons are always in demand will continue to be in the aftermath of both short-term and long-term disaster. Sure some folks might substitute toilet paper with something else like a cloth or even leaves if forced but toilet paper would be a luxury and preferred by nearly everyone and survivors would pay handsomely for that luxury post collapse. Same with tampons and pads. Baby diapers would also be needed and in demand – if you have a baby, plan to or someone in your prepper group has one then I suggest that you look into cloth diapers
8. Coffee, Tobacco, and Booze
Oh, my… need I say more. Most people have their vices and most of those vices involve one or all of the three. Bags of tobacco that have been vacuum sealed with give the longest shelf life. If you can brew your own booze then you and your product would be in high demand, but by so doing you would probably increase your chances of being robbed for your product so security and caution would be a top priority. Currently, there are laws regarding the brewing of booze, find out the laws in your state if this is something that you’re interested in learning and follow those now, but after a major collapse, they probably won’t be a whole lot of enforcement of those laws that are currently on the books.
Yes, I said it… condoms, we all hate to have to use them but the consequences of not using them could be disastrous now but even more so post collapse (I have a whole section in my book dedicated to birth control). The best ones that I’ve used are the Crown Condoms and at only $15 per 100, they are a great investment for barter and for your own personal use post collapse. People will continue to have sex after a disaster and protection from pregnancy and STD’s will be needed and if you’re the person in your community with the condom stockpile for barter, you’ll be in the catbird seat.
10. Lighters and Matches
Lighters and matches for barter should be self-explanatory, but keep in mind that these like condoms and some of the other items mentioned above would most valuable for barter after a major long-term EOTWAWKI type of event. Because we don’t know exactly what is going to happen or when it’s best to stockpile smaller amounts of many different barter items than a massive amount of only one or two items. Before anyone sends an email telling me that matches have a short self-life, it should be noted that I have matches from over 15 years ago in a glass jar that still strike and burn just as well as the day I put them into storage. The key is to keep them dry and add a desiccant.
Defending Your Home and Survival Retreat
And Now Let’s Look at Ways To Defend Your Home/Retreat in a Worst Case Event.
OCOKA is a military term that stands for – Observation and fields of fire, Cover, and Concealment, Obstacles, Key Terrain, Avenues of Approach. When setting up retreat and home defenses OCOKA should always be kept in mind and each principle addressed. Following these five fundamental principles, you will significantly improve your security and survivability. Let’s take a quick look at each in more detail.
Observation and Fields of Fire
You need to be able to see a potential threat at the earliest opportunity if you can see the threat early, and hopefully, before that threat see’s you, then you can make the correct decisions to either make contact, hide, or prepare to defend your area with force.
Can you observe all avenues of approach from your retreat? Do you have a full 360 degrees of view around your property? Are there areas that intruders could exploit to get close and possibly steal from, loot or attack you without being seen?
If forced could you fire upon an attacker from all angles without them being able to hide from view or without you possibly accidentally, shooting your neighbors or damaging critical resources? If not then you need to get to work clearing obstacles that limit your view and ability to fire upon an attacker if you’re forced to do so.
Cover and Concealment
Cover is protection from bullets and concealment is something you can hide behind where an attacker cannot see you, but concealment offers no protection from gunfire. No matter what you saw in the movies, car doors, kitchen tables, typical home entry doors, or the bed mattress isn’t cover and will not reliably protect you from being struck by bullets as they pass through.
If there isn’t any natural cover at your retreat, then you’ll need to get to work now constructing something that will protect you from bullets. You could build some decorative concrete or rock walls, tall raised flower or garden beds. These could provide adequate cover and still allow your home to blend in with other homes around you and not look like a fortification.
It’s also a good idea to have a supply of sandbags on hand that can be filled with sand and/or dirt to provide an effective way to put up cover quickly in needed areas. Even unused trash cans that are filled with sand or dirt can work well if you have several to work with. Just remember that the area between the cans doesn’t provide effective cover, only concealment, no matter how close that you push them together.
Obstacles are meant to slow or stop an attacker or to force him to go in a different direction either away from you or into a position where he is more vulnerable to you; preferably, into an area that offers him no means of cover or concealment.
One of the simplest and effective obstacles that you can put up is a fence. Don’t wait until a disaster; get to work building a fence now. It will increase your security and probably, your property value. The key, to success here, is to take a look around at the other houses in your area and note what types of fencing is already in use and put up a similar type around your property. The key is to blend in with everyone else; this will help you to avoid becoming a target.
Obstacles can also be used to stop vehicles from entering your property or neighborhood. For example falling several trees close together in an interwoven pattern can be a very effective obstacle that can even stop tracked vehicles, if done correctly.
No matter how strong the obstacles that you put in place are given enough time an attacker can work through and remove that obstacle if given enough time by being unchallenged, meaning that key areas and avenues of approach should be blocked by obstacles and covered by observation – this will give you and your group early warning and time to escape or mount an offensive attack against the trespassers.
Key Terrain is any piece of terrain that offers an advantage to whoever controls it. Think the high-ground. If you can take the high-ground it can drastically increase your observation and provide an advantage if your area comes under attack. Take control of and retain that key terrain, you don’t want a potential attacker to gain control of that area and be able to use it to watch you, or worse use it to attack you or your area. One lone sniper could use the advantage given by such key terrain to wipe out your entire family, group or community, with a few well-placed rifle shots.
Even if you’re in an urban area or the ground for miles under your feel is flat any taller than normal buildings can be viewed as key terrain or the high-ground. Control these and use to your advantage.
Avenues of Approach
This goes hand-in-hand with observation and fields of fire – look around and note the most likely avenues of approach that an intruder or attacker would take to reach you. Watch roads, pathways, waterways and open areas that lead up to your property, key terrain as mentioned above will offer a huge advantage here. And remember the father you can see the threat the better, the distance will also give you more time to decide what needs to be done and how to do it, depending on the risk presented.
OKOKA: Observation and fields of fire, Cover, and Concealment, Obstacles, Key Terrain, Avenues of Approach. Memorize it and use it when setting up your retreat defenses. Now let’s look at a few more key defensive strategies and points.
No doubt about it; the surest way to survive a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place. Too many preppers have an offensive mindset when it comes to home and retreat defense. Sadly, many will suffer for it. Forget about the macho BS, there is no shame in hiding until a threat passes by, in fact, it’s the smart thing to do.
As a family, or small survival group you cannot afford to risk injuries or worse casualties because you let your ego driven Rambo fantasies to guide you into taking offensive action when it could have been avoided it. However, you should be ready to violently, defend your area and retreat if a confrontation cannot be avoided.
A combat multiplier is anything that makes you and your group more effective or more difficult for an attacker to defeat. You should amass as many combat multipliers as possible now, before the time of need. You don’t want to wait until the marauders are coming through the window to start thinking about it, then it will be too late – don’t put off until tomorrow what should be done today, your life depends on it.
Things like knowing your terrain, improvised alarms, holding key terrain, having long-range weapons, night vision equipment, body armor, two-way radios, semi-automatic weapons, putting in obstacles or reinforcing natural ones, camouflage, mobility, trained guard dogs etc. are all combat multipliers and should be considered in your retreat defensive plans.
Funneling the Attack
Funneling the attack in the simplest terms means using roadblocks (both natural and man-made) to “guide the attacker(s) into a place of your choosing and where you have a definitive tactical advantage.
Ambush and the Element of Surprise
An ambush can be used as both an offensive and defensive tactical maneuver, for example, an ambush could be used to attack a convoy in an offensive maneuver outside of your perimeter, and also to defend against an attacker or attackers, that have entered your property or home. Hide and wait until the attackers have reached a predetermined position where they are most vulnerable, then spring the ambush.
An effective ambush doesn’t always mean shooting and killing those being ambushed, while gunfire is an option depending on the circumstances, you can also us an ambush to capture potential attackers and then make a decision on what to do with them after you’ve gained more knowledge through questioning or interrogation.
Early warning is a must
The sooner you know an intrusion is going to happen the better, time will allow you and your group to make a decision to stay and fight or make a speedy get-a-way. If you decide to stay and fight, early warning will hopefully allow you the time to get into the best possible defendable positions, or to plan an effective ambush.
Early warning for trespassers or attackers can come from a number of different options. For example; informants, lookouts placed in key locations that lead up to your retreat, dogs, motion activated lights, improved alarms, spot lights, security cameras etc.
It’s best not to rely on just one type of early warning device because it might be bypassed or could fail. For example, you could have a look out a mile or two away with a two-way radio overlooking a road or trail that leads into your location, and then improvised alarm devices a little further in, and then guard dogs on the outskirts and perimeter of your property or retreat location.
You should divide your area into three layers of defense – the outer layer, intermediate layer and the inner layer. The outer layer could be the area as far as you can see out past your property line, the intermediate layer could be anywhere inside your property line and the inner layer would be your home. With each layer providing increasing levels of security and protection.
You will have a plan of action for each layer of defense. For example your outer layer could be a watch and report area only with no action being taken against anyone that wonders inside that layer – unless, of course, you know that they are planning to attack and loot you at your location, then defensive action could be taken to prevent them from ever reaching your second or third layer of defense.
Your second layer would probably be your property line; this would preferably be marked by a chained link or barbed wire fence. Anyone crossing into this area is probably up to no good and should be dealt with aggressively; the extent of your aggression will depend on the depth and length of the disaster.
Your third layer would be inside your home and in most cases, deadly force can and should be used here.
The key to an effective layered defense is for you and your group to know where each layer begins and ends and to have a predetermined plan of action for each layer when that layer has been breached, and to practice each scenario until it can be done effectively, even when you’re tired and hungry.
Misinformation is simply, leading anyone your group to believe something that you want them to believe that isn’t true. Let’s say for example that you know or suspect that someone or a group is listening in on your two-way radio communications, to gain Intel before they loot or steal from you. You can use this fact to your advantage, by feeding them false information via your two-way communications or through know informants.
For example; you could make them believe that your group is larger or better armed than you are or lead them to think you’re going to be in one place but in reality, you’re setting an ambush, or planning your escape. The key is to make it believable and have a workable plan where you can use their response to your false information to your tactical advantage.
False or misleading information could also be used to make your neighbors think that you are worse off than they are. For example; you could show up at their door begging for food, when in fact you have a well-stocked pantry. Just don’t be too aggressive by demanding that they share whatever they have with you because you might get shot if they mistake you as a threat.
Official looking signs can also be used to good effect when planting seeds of false information, for example; you could post official looking “Food and Water 5 Miles” with an arrow pointing down the road and away from your location. Use your imagination and I’m sure that you can come up with other ideas for signs that will mislead and confuse strangers that wander into your town or onto your property.
Most homes were not built to defeat gunfire and bullets will pass right through the walls and riddle anyone caught in between. It is best to defend your home from the outside where you have more visibility and mobility. This is where your early warning devices come into play, by knowing when someone is approaching your location but before they get there, you and your group have time to get into a defensive or ambush position.
Sandbags are very useful and effective when setting up defensive poisons that offer ballistic cover. They are cheap enough (or can be improvised) that you can stock up on hundreds of bags for under $100 and can be filled with sand or dirt that you dig up from your property.
Although; you don’t want to defend your home from the inside it’s still a good idea to build up the area around and near the windows with filled sandbags. This will offer cover if for some unfortunate reason you were surprised and trapped inside the structure.
Lining the area inside your pouch up to the railing with filled sandbags is also a good idea. This will offer a protected shooting position that can be occupied quickly if an attacker or trespasser were to get inside your second layer of defense before you have time to man your main defensive positions away from your main living structure.
Your main defensive positions should be set up in key locations around your property and can range from hardened pillbox type structures with thick reinforced concrete or rammed earth walls to simple spider holes, or a mixture of both.
Don’t look like an easy target
Don’t be an easy target, and even if you are, you can use misinformation to make would be looters or attackers think that you’re far stronger and better armed than you really are. If they think you are a hard target hopefully they will think that going up against you is not worth the risk and move on in search of an easier target.
OPSEC – Operational Security
We hear this all of the time in prepper and survivalist circles, OPSEC aka operational security and it is very important now and will be a major factor in keeping you and your group secure after the balloon goes up. The number one rule of OPSEC is to keep your mouth shut – everything should be done on a need-to-know basis and most people don’t need to know anything about what you and your group are doing.
A Plan of Retreat
No matter how well prepared or strong our defenses, we could be faced with a superior force that greatly outnumbers and outgun us, where staying and fighting would be suicidal. You need a plan of retreat, preferably, a way to retreat without being seen or confronted by the superior force. An escape tunnel from your home that leads to a hidden and safe evacuation point would be an idea. But most preppers don’t have the room or the resources to put such a plan and tunnels into place.
Again; this is where early two-way-radio warning lookouts and alarms can save your life. If you know a threat is approaching you have time to evaluate the threat and make a decision of whether to stay and fight or retreat. You should have a predetermined destination where everyone in your group knows to meet up if you’re forced from your retreat area.
Also having caches of first-aid, water, food and ammo along the way and at the safe location is a good idea. Get those into place now, before the time of need. Also, each member of your group should have an escape or “bug out bag” that can be quickly grabbed as the escape plan is being put into action.
I know many survivalists/preppers will resist the thought of retreating from their retreat, preferring to stay and fight even if defeat and death are certain. You know; take out as many of those SOB’s as possible before they take your location and while this is admirable, it isn’t the best decision.
The escape can be used to buy you time to get better organized and plan for a counter attack where you can ultimately, take your property back from the aggressors. I’ve talked to several preppers who have their main food caches hidden on their property while having a separate smaller cache out in the open for looters to find if they make it that far.
But the surprise is that those preppers have poisoned their “decoy cache” of food items ( I don’t advocate doing this but it is what some preppers are doing). So they plan to retreat, wait, then come back and remove the looters/attackers after they have died of the poison.