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The Top 4 Reasons Why You’re Not Going to Survive Bugging Out to the Woods

Bugging out to the woods

In today’s post we’re going to go over a very common and highly flawed bugout plan that many preppers have apparently chosen as their first response for most SHTF scenarios. We’re going to dissect the fundamental flaws with this plan and give some viable alternatives to bugging out to the woods.

There are many reasons why bugging out just in general is probably the worst idea you can have in a real-life SHTF scenario. We went into detail about this topic in THIS article. However, it seems that not only are a lot of preppers insisting on bugging out for practically any disaster scenario, but that many of them are planning on grouping up like some para-military pack of wannabe Rambos and “living off the land” and shooting anything and anyone that moves.

The other day on Facebook there was a heated discussion in one of the larger prepper groups about the best way to train “firing teams” to be ready for the eventual wilderness bugout that apparently is right around the corner.

:facepalm:  

Guys….that’s not prepping. That’s schizophrenia, or at best, extremism. Honestly, if you spend all day arguing on Facebook about the best way to place “troops” around your “bugout base camp” to “stalk and take out the sheeple coming in to YOUR woods” you have problems. Please go talk to a professional.

What I found more interesting about this conversation wasn’t the whole para-military thing. I don’t think we’re ever going to get rid of the unstable, wannabe Rambos from the prepper community, but what was really interesting was that practically everyone commenting on this debate apparently had the same plan to bug out to the woods during a SHTF scenario.

So today, we’re going to go over 4 reasons as to why bugging out to the woods is a REALLY bad idea, why you’re probably not going to survive out there if that’s what you’re planning to do and some alternatives to think about when planning a bug out.

1.      Whose land do you think you’re going to bug out to?

 Although there are a lot of public and state-owned forests, nature preserves and other non-private lands out there you could theoretically bug out to, it’s not like these areas are just around the corner for everyone. For most people, it’s going to take some time to get out there, and since you’re not the only one with this plan. It’s very likely you won’t be the first ones out there. Now, you’ve got to hope that everyone else that got there first is either going to welcome you with open arms, not see you, or not shoot you on sight and take your supplies. Remember, there are people on Facebook literally right now that are not only planning on doing exactly that, but DEBATING THE BEST WAY TO DO IT.

Planning on bugging out to that nice patch of woods in the farmlands outside of town? Well, those farmers have been keeping people off their property a lot longer than you’ve been trespassing. They’re more self-reliant that you are, they know the land better than you do and they’re probably a lot better armed. Just because the S has hit the fan, doesn’t mean they’re not going to defend their land.

2.      There are VERY few people who have the skills to survive in the wild

This isn’t an attack on anyone that’s spent time working on their bushcraft and wilderness survival skills. These are 2 very important skills that all preppers should learn and practice. That being said, there’s a big difference between surviving in the woods, and surviving in the woods during a SHTF scenario. In a real SHTF scenario, rule of law is likely to be gone. We’ve already shown there are people who have no qualms with shooting people on site, just for their resources and to keep them out of “their” A.O.

If you’ve got a family, and for whatever bonehead reason you’ve drug them out into the middle of the woods to bug out after the S has hit the fan, you’re going to have some real problems. Are you going to be teaching little 4 year-old Jimmy advanced military evasion and survival techniques? How are you going to make sure little 2 year old Sally is going to stay silent for the next couple weeks to avoid the hundreds of confused, hungry, angry and hostile people out there? We could give a hundred examples like this, but in the end the answer is “you’re not”. Even if you’re by yourself, surviving in an area without immediate survival resources AND evading hostiles isn’t something that is usually taught on Man vs. Wild or in your average bushcraft course.

3.      It seems like EVERYONE is planning heading to the hills when SHTF. What makes you so special?

As we mentioned earlier, there are a great many preppers whose SHTF bugout plans involved heading out to the woods to survive. If a real SHTF scenario were to happen, not only will these people be headed out there, but after a day or two without food, even non-preppers are going to start thinking about hunting, fishing and gathering in the woods. Before long, you’re going to see a massive population shift from the cities to the country and forests.

This will mean a few things will happen:

  • The roads leading to the rural and wooded areas are going to be come congested, and probably impassable.
  • The roads leading to the rural and wooded areas are going to be a prime spot for anyone that’s thinking about taking supplies from others by force.
  • There will be intense competition for the limited amount of resources in these areas, likely causing more violence there than in the cities everyone is fleeing from in the first place.
  • Local land owners will very likely be shooting trespassers on sight.

4.      You’re not giving animals nearly enough credit …and humans are greedy.

Despite what a lot of people may believe, animals aren’t stupid. They’ve been surviving without guns, MREs or solar panels a lot longer than we have. Their main instincts revolve around protection and food procurement. They don’t just stand out in the woods waiting for humans to come kill them despite what Elmer Fudd might think.

If you don’t have a lot of experience hunting then you probably don’t know this, but towards the end of the hunting seasons, it becomes a lot harder to find game on public hunting grounds. The reason is simple. Animals have been hearing gunshots, seeing and smelling humans and generally fleeing for their lives for a couple months or more. There is a cycle among game animals. Towards the tail end of the season, the animals are leaving these areas to go to less populated areas where there are fewer humans. Several months after the hunting season is over, they start coming back because the humans have left. In a SHTF scenario, the same thing is going to happen. The animals will leave when more humans enter the forests and start hunting them. In fact, if everyone flees the cities, that’s exactly where the animals are likely to go!

Additionally, humans are greedy. There’s a reason why conservation agencies exist. It’s to keep us from destroying entire populations of animals. If you stick 100+ “hunters” in an area with only enough game to support 10 of them, all the game will disappear, either by the animals fleeing or they’ve all been taken. The same is true with fishing. If a pond gets over-fished, there are no more fish to mate and restock it naturally.

What about water? Sure, there’s lots of natural ways to procure water in the wild. There’s plenty of water out there for a few people… but not hundreds. Again, if there’s only a handful of streams or rivers to get water from, and EVERYONE wants water from there, 2 things are likely to happen. The water will be gone, or someone’s going to start thinking about defending “their” water source by force. Don’t think it will happen? Read some history books… WARS have been started over water rights.

In a nutshell, all those resources you thought were going to be in abundance out in the woods are going to dry up extremely quickly, likely before you even get there. At that point, you’re going to be hungry, without a source of food or water, living without a real shelter, exposed to the elements and dealing with a lot of angry and armed people.

Sounds fun huh?

Ok, so now, let’s talk about some alternatives to this highly dangerous and extremely illogical plan. First and foremost, please read THIS article. The term “bugging out” has gotten so much hype in what I’m going to start calling the “vanity-prepper” crowd, ( I blame that stupid Doomsday Preppers show) that every new prepper I talk to immediately thinks that having a bugout bag for the BIG SHTF scenario and being able to live off the land is the most important thing they need to worry about right now. They spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on weapons and gear and then within a couple months they get burned out of prepping altogether and sell stuff to me for cheap on craigslist. J

Having a bugout plan IS important. That is a given. If a hurricane is coming that is a definite bugout situation. If your house is in the path of a wildfire, that is a bugout situation. Tornados, flooding… I think you see the pattern here. These are REAL bugout scenarios, and yes you should have a bugout bag for every family member ready to go just for these types of situations. However, more importantly, you need to have a bugout PLAN. We will be going more into detail about preparing a detailed bugout plan and bugout bag in a future article, but for now, you NEED to have somewhere you can go if your residence becomes unsafe like a family members home or even a hotel.

Now, I know what some people are thinking “…but what about SHTF?….when the SHTF hits…when the looters come…when the pandemic hits…when the mutant biker gangs take over…..blah blah blah”

STOP.

You’re arguing a situation that has a 0.00000000000000000000000001% chance of ever actually happening. Yes, there is a chance that someday we may face one of the Hollywood disasters, but why is THAT what you’re so worried about right now? Do you have contingency plans for all the natural disasters that could hit your area? What would you do if you lost your job right now? How much food and water do you have stockpiled? What are you planning on doing about hyper-inflation? Heck, do you even have jumper cables in your car?!

You see, these (and many others) are REAL disasters that you WILL face in the coming days. So, with that being said, maybe instead of arguing with someone on Facebook about “the best way to set up firing teams”, … make a real bug out plan, practice it, document it, prepare for it… and most importantly, try to keep some perspective and reality in your preps and your plans. The rest of the world already thinks we’re nut-jobs; we don’t need to prove them right.

 

Thank you for visiting today!
Until next time, stay safe out there.
Rick
Ready4itall.org

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27 comments

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  1. Alan Smith

    Good story but I will have to disagree with you on this.
    My BOL is in the woods and will be protected.
    Lots of folks that are planning this type of action already have locations to go to.
    Now all the sheeple that are not prepared or preparing this will be exactly what will happen to them sad to say.

  2. Jimmy Morris

    It’s good to finally see some sensible “prepping” advice.
    Thanks

  3. Bobby

    A sane prepper. Fantastic!
    That’s how I got my wife on board. Not with SHTF scenarios but with actual, probable situations. Besides, bugging in does seem the best option. Unless a weather related occurrence pops up on the horizon. And we have a couple of little BOB’s for that (admittedly rare) possibility.

    Thanks!

  4. Harry

    I live in a remote area of Northern Wisconsin. Alot of city folks have cabins and “BOL” in this area. I really hate to rain on any parades but….

    If you ain’t a local, there won’t be anything here for you when/ IF you get to your BOL. You see, us “locals” know who you are (you pay your bills to the local co-op, property taxes, etc…) We call you “shackers”. Folks who come up for holidays and deer season. We have befriended you, might even “keep an eye on the place” for you…. We know how much LP is in your tank (my cousin drives the truck), we know whats in your cabin (we look in the windows/pick the locks when you are in the city). We have helped you with projects (while gathering information)…

    We ain’t the ill-educated, in-bred, morons you think we are!

    When “things go bad”….. that 4 lane you use to get here will be blocked. Ambush points set up (already planned out). Backroads? PLEASE!!!! we know those better then you EVER will! Makes it easier for us!

    You see, like the article talks about…we only have SO much resources to go around. AND, we are tired of you coming up here and acting like idiots! I don’t care how you THINK your “BOL” is secure. It ain’t. Or how you THINK you will “protect” it…you can’t! We KNOW these woods/fields/swamps/hills. Been hunting them all my life.

    Good luck and thanks for the supplies.

    1. poorman

      LOL I live in a small mountain community also and I laugh because what you are saying is right on the button. First off most of the flatlanders ( that’s what we call them ) wouldn’t make it if we let them come up here. We live here and at time we hunt and fish and come back empty let alone you first timers. The water sources are ours,the game and fish are ours. Stay in your city’s you will be much better off. Ever been out in the middle of the night in the real dark ( not the city with ambient light ) try it in the winter during a snow storm you can get lost 100 feet from your home. How about animals? We have bears and lions prowling around and they think you are pretty tasty. There was a little group that tried to winter about 40 miles from where I live that you may have heard of. It was called the Donner Party.

  5. Wakjob

    There’s a very real chance we’ll be facing another World War soon and that will also mean mass starvation. Forget the hollywood disaster movies. This will be a real man-made disaster on an epic scale.

  6. Heather

    Wow, Harry, thanks for letting all us “city folks” know that apparently “locals” are a bunch of sneaky, lying, psychotic hillbillies who can’t wait to take our stuff and kill us!

    1. Harry

      …we are…

  7. jjd76539

    Let me inform this person of a few things .. I have survived in the Appalachians for years without many of the comforts of today’s society..And there is no farmers in those hills unless they are farming pot..And like the native american i went to different areas when one was being thinned out to much. The thing is when you live in these areas you know them. Now there are several of these areas close to many cities and dont think for one damn minute that people will not be going to them because they will be.. Just like people of the great depression did they traveled and survived.. You obviously know nothing of history either.. But everyone must consider one thing if the human population is hit the animal population will most likely be hit also. And in that case it will be everyone for themselves.. And you have to take into account are you going to be able to get to your prepped hideout most wont be able to unless you walk or bike. I am 15 miles away from a mountain chain I will walk it or bike it.. And if the wild game has not been effected I will survive quiet well .. I know there are less hunters and a overpopulation of game in many areas. I will survive but many wont because they never had to eat wild game for years and survive on little of nothing.. All you people stockpiling stuff you not gonna be able to take it all with you. You are better off investing about 600 bucks in survival gear and have one or two light firearms you are not gonna be able to carry 1000s of rounds of ammo.. If I was you preppers if you are not in a rural area you better rethink your plans…

  8. freenerik

    We live in the foot hills of the national forest in a rural area with about 1000 people in a very small town and I can without hesitation tell you that outsiders had better not even think about driving up here if the s hits the fan. We have 2 schools, a small store, a couple tourist traps and 3 gun shops, everyone knows everyone and we have talked with niegbors if anything happened the last thing we would allow is for outsiders to be at our backs. I can not think of one family that is unarmed and everyone up here fishes, hunts and gardens as well as ownes at least small livestock we work our property and will not let people who are unprepared become a risk or burden on us.

    1. Harry

      Same here…

    2. poorman

      Here Too

  9. Tommy Durant

    I think the zombies will just as easily eat people alive, rape, pillage, plunder, murder, take your stuff when SHTF in the city as easily as YOU see in the mountains… plus Gov’t troops Martial Law in the city shooting people rioting over a piece of bread or gallon of water… HISTORY proves me correct too…so as I see it..you’re engaging in the same bashing “my plan is better than yours and you’re stupid” blah blah blah that you say you see others doing.

    I’m not prepared..nobody really is..but I’m prepared more than MOST OF THE WORLD and ex infantry… I may die… but I die free and not in the city.

  10. Heather

    I think it depends on what happens. I probably wouldn’t leave because I know my area. To bug out to an area I don’t know well would be stupid. I have many friends who live in the country but do they want me there when they are trying to keep thier own families alive. If most people try to leave, even if half the people try to leave the roads would be a mess. If you have watched even 1 disaster movie you would know this. Here I know there is food. It might be in abandonded houses, might be the numerous squirrels , racoons, birds that are around. Could be one of the many vegetable gardens, or the natural raspberry bushes, strawberry bushes, and other edible foods. I know where these foods are in my area, I don’t know what is available Up North. I know the city , I know the nooks and cranies of where to hide if we needed too.

  11. xtron

    and ho w long befor one of those hundreds of inexperianced yahoos builds a really big bonfire and sets the woods ablaze…with no firefighters to put it out???? NOW how and where do you bug out to????

  12. L

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s not realistic. You’d be better off to stay at home where you will have your own personal fortress that should be fully stocked with the best survival gear and food storage. I for one will not be heading out to the woods. Now I’m not saying you won’t need to be prepared because you will. But you will be better prepared by just staying home!

  13. Echo

    for myself i am prepared to bug in or bug out it all depends on what happens. i can sit it out for awhile right where i am for an extended time. i have supplies, only one door to watch and from one spot can guard almost every window. the place is made of brick so i’m not to worried about anyone shooting thru the walls. also have a 4×4 and can leave in any season. son lives upstairs and we can team up. his girlfriend lives in a very rural area of nc with her family. they have a large abandoned farm we can use as a BOL.
    bugging in works good but only for a certain length of time. then it’s going to get unbearable between the sewage, garbage, bodies, eventual diseases and marauding looters if it goes on long enough. and of course martial law is gonna be put in place and attempting to rule with an iron fist. if any mention of martial law? i’m gone…….
    i think it’s going to be few and far between on who might be able to survive and who might die. as to bugging out into the woods? i think the only ones that are really gonna be in a decent position is going to be small groups and some lone individuals. a small group is going to have to be big enough to provide adequate protection but small enough to be manageable with very little in-fighting.
    as to city folk who think their little woodland getaway cottage is going to be a great BOL??? think again. you probably wont be able to get to it. and if by some wild chance you do? you will probably find it stripped of everything usable or already occupied by squatters. and they are NOT gonna say, “oh pardon us, we will leave right away”. they are going to guard it and fight for it!!!

  14. Harry

    I agree!!!….

    I live in an area of “vacation” homes/cabins. We hear folk talking about “bugging out” to HERE. Some things city folks need to know….you “BOL” ain’t “secure”…we have been hunting these woods since you were a twinkle in your old mans eyes. We have been on your property. We know…..everything about you. You see, we service your LP, pump out your shitter tank, serve you drinks or dinner at the local tavern, sack your groceries. Our eyes and ears are open. Why? YOU are an “outsider”….a drain on our resources when SHTF. You will not be welcome here. Your “BOL” will be either empty or occupied. If you think otherwise…you are dreaming!

  15. SailorDude

    Agree, our plan is Bug In for the SHTF, and Bug Out for the local natural or manmade disasters. But when the yahoos show up in our town in the SHTF situation it’s going to be very interesting times:)

  16. william major

    Brilliant article. Reminds me of an article I read called “The Golden Hoarde”…but you really drilled down and detailed why ” heading to the hills” is going to be suicide. In my humble opinion…when SHTF…the “hills” are going to adapt and grow under to WROL much sooner than the cities will. Slavery will be reborn in these hills.

  17. BrownDirt

    Perhaps you didn’t take into account the LA riots or even Katrina, Imagine the LA riots on a large scale perhaps across every city in the U.S. and the cops not trying to put an end to it but just trying to get to their families and keep them self and when the smashed stores shelves are depleted and water is polluted would you consider these cities safer than the woods? If you think the Government will support you and keep you safe you have not considered these scenarios. As a retired special forces Capt. I can guarantee you have a better chance at survival given the amount of preparedness in advance within a pod with a plan than thinking you could wait it out until help arrives.

  18. BrownDirt

    Ya stay at home and when the hords and gangs light your house on fire and you and your family run out into the streets they shoot you in the face from behind a car. Have fun. I for one believe there is more than enough wilderness in the U.S. to hide from most everyone given there is already 4 season supplies at that location. There are priceless amounts of privately owned land so vast that it would take years for even the owner to find you. look to the north east and north west the cooler the climate the less the population.

    1. poorman

      Yeah you are right. Of course that assumes you can bug out on your time frame. Let me ask you. I live in the Sierra Nevada mountain and I am sure lots of folks down the hill plan to do just what you say. Lets assume its winter,ever tried to drive in 2 foot of snow that hasn’t been plowed ( no snow plows) when you can’t find the road? Ever been where it’s really dark, not your city dark but DARK. Overcast sky in the mountains at night means you are lucky to see 30 feet. Ever tried to survive at night when the temp is a zero deg?I suppose you’ll start a fire,oops that’s right 2 ft of snow so no dry wood and can’t see so you won’t be wandering to find any or if you do you won’t find your way back. Every been around wild animals not in a zoo? Up here we got bears,mountain lions,wildcats ect. You might try a google search of a group called the Donner Party. That was about 40 miles from where I live and they starved. Oh yeah they already knew how to live off the land and still starved. Try doing what you think and those gang members shooting you in the face may be an easy way to go. Just sayin.

  19. German

    @BrownDirt: exactly! It all depends on the scale of disaster of course. But assuming the worst kind of SHTF scenario where the government can no longer protect its people and you can’t buy food at your local grocery store anymore… What does the author think would happen if he was to bug-in at home?
    My prediction: after more than a month without food, 90% of the population of let’s say Los Angeles County (about 10 Million) would be dead. Those who lost their lives are the weak: young, old, or disabled people and people that were unable to defend themselves. What you have to deal with now in your bug-in situation is an evolving group of survivors. When I say evolving, I mean more ruthless and more skilled- ready to do whatever it takes to survive.
    Fast forward two months after SHTF, this group now may have shrunk to 1% of the original population. 1% are still 100.000 individuals.100.000 of the most badass kind, fighting for the last remaining resources… If you have made it this far it either means you have the perfect hideout or that you are pretty badass yourself.. Don’t fool yourself in thinking you could ever be save in a fortress. If ”they” have a tank or something with similar firepower, they’ll get you out of there. But ”they” could also use smarter methods like keeping you awake through constant noise, simulated attacks, smoke you out etc… If they choose to do so you will give up after a few days being all sleep deprived and crazy without the need of an actual attack. My point: while bugging out could go wrong in a thousand ways especially if you lack common sense and skills, bugging in most definitely will get you killed much faster.

  20. Silas Longshot

    You are correct on so many levels. The bug out ‘general purpose’ plan idea is doomed from the start, starting for instance with just the problem of getting there. Ever notice how just a minor fender bender disrupts the expressway? Now, imagine HUNDREDS of minor and MAJOR accidents caused by panicked people….running out of gas, trying stupid things that didn’t work. Same thing on every major road from point A to B. So, you’ll be on foot before you know it. And your ‘bug out location’ is what, 4 hours by expressway from where you are living? That’s probably a month of foot travel, under the best of conditions.
    survivingurbancrisis.com

  21. Angel

    This is exactly why I will bug in. I’m not even remotely prepared. I have family land available to me. But it’s straight up woods and tilled. The water source is dismal.

    However, if I had complete access and the necessary resources I would build something there for dual purpose. 1: almost year round camping. This is MN, to outfit it for yr round including access is more than I want to do just to camp. 2. Bug out if need be.

    I’m not ready to do those things. So I read and read and try to learn so that I won’t be one of those helpless, stranded people.

  22. thealize808 .

    Stay at home and bug in.if your in the city stay at your home.

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