Surviving in the Deep South! (Part 1)

Surviving in the Deep South is going to be a multi-part article on survival techniques that can be used in the Deep South of the United States.  We will look into the special challenges faced by someone trying to survive in this South Central Environment.   I have noticed that there are a lot of articles and videos on survival but most of them center on the Northern United States.  Unfortunately however the challenges and dangers faced here in the Deep South are much different from in the North.  While they may not all be unique to the Deep South, they are certainly more prevalent.   For example, standing in a stream up north to fish is all well and good.   However, here in the Deep South, we have poisonous water snake and alligators, so walking out into the middle of a stream or creek to fish would not be my first option. Unless you want to wind up being dinner for some other animal I suggest that you avoid this.  There are other differences that I hope to address in this series as well so grab a pop and set back so we can get started. 🙂

Yep, down here in the Deep South, just about anything that creeps; crawls or slithers can kill you.  There is a reason that they say that the South is spooky.  It is!  Now don’t get me wrong, the South is not without its charms. From our grand old Live Oak Trees with the beautiful wisps of Spanish Moss hanging from their branches, to our beautiful Country Plantations, friendly smiles and the amazing food,  it is a great place to live.  While things like frost bite may be an issue further North, herein the Deep South, not so much.  I do love the South and always will.  I guess you would pretty much have to be born here to understand the almost mystical bond between the land and the people who live here.  OK, enough romanticizing, back to the subject at hand.

Ok, let’s start with the environment.  We will begin with things that could pose a danger to your survival.  Something that you don’t hear a about much in the north is “Roaches” particularly Tree Roaches!  They are big, ugly and actually can fly short distances!   They are also called cockroaches in some places , I believe.  These are nasty little critters that roam the woods and abandoned houses in search of food and a dry place to stay.  They also carry diseases that can make you very sick. Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by these cockroaches and are by no means the only ones. These disease-causing organisms are carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches, and are deposited on food and utensils as cockroaches forage. In a survival situation here in the Deep South, they could quickly become a problem, one that should be dealt with early on to avoid issues later on down the road.  A simple solution that can be used to control them is a mixture of baking soda and sugar.   Cockroaches have a very high acid content in their stomachs.  When they ingest the sugar, and the baking soda along with it, the subsequent reaction between the soda and their natural make-up results in death.  You can read more about it here.

Other things to be concerned with are the snakes of all kinds that permeate the South.  Poisonous snakes are everywhere in the South, especially in the rural areas.  Other than being aware for them and trying to avoid them, there is not much you can do.  Learn all you can about what to do if you are bitten and have antivenom and antibiotics on hand to counteract the poison if at all possible.   A broad-spectrum antibiotic prophylaxis is still recommended by many Doctors. See this link for more information on this. The other option is to have snake antivenom on hand to counteract the poison. However, it is expensive and most people can’t afford a single vial of it let alone several that it would take for just one bite.  It also has a very limited shelf life.  Like I said, educate yourself about them and avoid them at all cost.

We don’t have Wolves here in the Deep South per say, but we do have fresh water Alligators and they have been known to take down full-grown men that have ventured too close to the water’s edge. The males have been known to grow to over 12 feet in length and are very territorial.  My best advise it to avoid them at all cost unless you have a good rifle to kill them with.  In that case, the tail can be cooked in many ways and taste great!  A large piece of rotten chicken or rabbit can be attached to the end of a strong nylon rope and a large hook to catch them with. They must then be shot in the back of the head in the “Sweet Spot” in order to kill them.  I know they make it look easy on TV, but it is not and is very dangerous!  If you have never done this before, I do not recommend you try it.  If you are starving and in a weakened condition, then it could easily go the wrong way. You could wind up being it’s dinner instead.  More information can be found here.

While flies are universal, they seem to be everywhere here in the Deep South.  Flies spread disease as everyone knows and that can be deadly in a survival situation.  Typhoid is just one of many diseases that can be spread by flies.  To avoid this, keep all food covered at all times.  As pine trees are prevalent in the south, a trick used by early settlers was to mix sugar with pine sap then spread it on a large piece of bark and set near food or hung from a tree.  the flies are lured by the smell of the sugar and become stuck in the Pine sap.  You could also add fly traps to your preps and make your life a lot easier.  Another trick is to take a zip lock bag and fill it with water then suspend it from a tree limb or rafter.  The flies think it is a Hornets nest and avoid the area, are so I’m told.   The idea here is to just be aware of the dangers they pose and prepare for it. Look here for more information.

Mosquitos are a constant problem here in the Deep South and can carry many types of illness and disease.  In an SHTF situation, they could actually become deadly if not controlled.  Diseases that can transmit, include but are not limited to Malaria, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and many others.  While Mosquitos are more active shortly after dawn and just before sunset, they can attack you at any time of day.  For this reason, your preps should definitely include Mosquito repellent and bug spray.  There are several natural ways to repel them, ranging from eating Garlic to burning Rosemary or sage.  Theses are trick that every Prepper should know and prep accordingly.  Here is a link to several natural ways to repel Mosquitos.

Wasp and Yellow jackets are yet another concern here in the Deep South. These can be very painful if they sting you.  Usually found in secluded areas or  in trees, they will attack without warning.  If you are in a tree when this happens, try not to panic.  Very slowly, move to the bottom of the tree and away from it. They are attracted by quick movements and only sting people they deem to be an imminent threat.  If one lands on you then try to remain still till it flies off.  Avoid warring anything sweet-smelling as they can be attracted to it. To learn more click here.

Wild Boars are found in abundance here in the Deep South and can present quite a danger in a survival situation.  They are also known as Feral Pigs in some places.  For those who don’t know; Boars eat meat as well as vegetables.  They will attack without provocation and quickly force you to defend yourself.  Their large tusk can be deadly to humans and due to their thick outer skin, they can be very hard to kill.  They are also devastating to crops and can destroy them in short order.  They can however be a good source of meat, if you kill the younger ones.  The meat on the older ones can be tough and bitter especially if it is a male.  If you decide to harvest some for your survival meals, please do so with caution!  Of course, in a SHTF  situation, the thought of having Bacon or HAM could be a strong motivator.  More information can be found here.

Well that’s it for Part 1 and in Part 2 of “Surviving in the Deep South” , we will look at foraging for local plants and wildlife in the Deep South.  Until then, keep on prepping!

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