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Another input regarding the "Bug-out vs Shelter in Place" argument

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  • Another input regarding the "Bug-out vs Shelter in Place" argument

    It seems that whenever a bunch of preppers (at least the more doom-oriented ones) get together to talk, the subject of bug-out versus shelter in place seems to come up. I've listened and thought about this for a while now, and my views are that both approaches are bad. Here's why:

    Bugging out assumes you already have a place to go to that
    • Is close by (within a day's walk or a tank of gas away)
    • Wouldn't be impacted by traffic jams or unfriendly natives on the way
    • Is already stocked with whatever you'd need for long-term survival
    • Is absolutely secure so that you know no one will have arrived before you
    • Can be reached by everyone else (if you're not a solo bug-outer, which is probably a death sentence anyway).
    If you don't have a place to bug out to, you're not a survivor, you're a refugee. And if your proposed out BOL doesn't fit the above criteria, it probably won't be your BOL by the time you get there -- if you get there in the first place.

    And if you're thinking of a group bug-out, the logistics -- if not the biker gangs -- are going to get you first. Even if it's just your family, the chances of everyone being reach-able when the time comes to saddle up are pretty small. Someone's going to change their mind at the last minute, or forgotten to fill up the car, or the kid's at soccer practice with Mom, or forgot the CB transceiver, or ... you get the picture.

    Or maybe you think you'll go up into the woods and "survive" in the woods using nothing but your vast knowledge of finding potable water, roots, berries, bunny-rabbits and Bambi, during a snow storm with a bunch of other suburban citizens, each with a firearm and a panicked trigger finger? Not me -- or not anyone else I know. I ain't Bear Grylls, I'm the guy on "Naked and Afraid" that left on Day 3!

    Sheltering in Place is a great choice for about a week or so (maybe), but...
    • If your "place" is an apartment or an urban/suburban house, you're likely to be surrounded with other folks who might not have stored up quite as many goodies as you have, and they might want to share. You say you have a gun? So do they, like as not!
    • Your place might keep the rain off, but when the electricity goes away, you're living in a place which isn't designed to keep you warm and or cool.
    • You're likely be within hand-gun range of anyone who wants to come by and start shooting for any reason at all.
    • And speaking of the loss of electricity, you know that's how the water gets to your faucet, right? It is pumped their from the city reservoirs or your well, but still, without electricity, things are going to get dry and I'm not talking about dry humor here.
    • Sooner or later you're going to run out of grub, and the best intentions will not feed you in your survival garden in your back yard or your condo's patio.
    So what's the answer? I have some ideas, and I'm sure you do as well. If you've thought about this issue (and I'm sure most of you have) what's your approach to resolving it? I'd like to hear from you.

  • #2
    no urban person is going to be able to survive in the countryside for long, especially in winter, especially if they have nowhere to go, which is most people.


    • #3
      Duncan: Every thing you mentioned is spot on. I completely agree with your analysis. My Plan A is to Bug In or Shelter in Place. Given our circumstances that is the best course of action for us.

      IMHO the best analysis I have seen on the question was posted on the Black Scout Survival You Tube Channel. Here is the link:

      What is discussed is the timing, and some of the reasons for staying or going using the term RED OUT.
      Resources - or lack of
      Environmental threats

      Overwhelming force
      Unprepared for the situation
      Threat growing

      IMHO he gives very good explanations on how each of these affect your decision.
      The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

      Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you are stupid, and make bad decisions.


      • #4
        Gentlemen, thank you both for your replies. Morgan, special thanks for your link; I particularly liked the mnemonic, which should make it easier for all of us to recall the six considerations we need to remember. Certainly,if we're faced with the choice of bugging or sheltering, knowing all the different scenarios and how they impact your decisions is absolutely necessary.

        However, I found (for my situation, that is) a better way. I figured out what would be a great location to bug out to, as well as the best place to shelter in place, and combined them. In other words, I chose a place that has necessary privacy and security (remote/rural); survival and prospering infrastructure (friendly but not too nosy neighbors, within an hour of some level of medical assistance, as well as the holy trinity of country folks (Home Depot, Walmart, and a chain farm store); and optimum climate/weather/soil/aquifer...

        ...and moved there.

        This was not an easy choice. Dawn and I were leaving a place we'd live in for 40 years (me) and 30 years (her), with all our friends, our oldest kid (a schoolteacher who couldn't very well move) and the comfort of knowing my way around the town.

        Plus, we were city folk, never having lived on a farm, and we were moving to an area where no one knew us. They had mostly known each other for generations and almost all went to the same church (which wasn't ours), and had their own interests.

        On the other hand, even though we were old (me very old) we were still a bit adventurous, and we both had job pensions and Social Security money coming in, and had been able to sell our gated-community suburban home at a profit to keep our new mortgage pretty low. Finally, we both figured that if we moved someplace where no one knew us and tried to be friendly and honest about wanting the rural life even if we didn't know jack sh¡t about it, we would make new friends.

        Would you believe it, it's been almost two years and it's working out fine. We've made a lot of new friends; six guys came by to help us build a barn for the goats, gave us eggs until our hens started laying, invited us to their places for meals, etc. We opened our fruit trees to the neighborhood, helped them dig their irrigation ditches -- I even helped one gentleman install a Geissele trigger in his carbine!

        How and why we picked the place we did, and the means we used to determine it -- that's a story for a different time.


        • #5
          Duncan & Morgan you are both spot on. I know from personal experience what it is to live on a small family farm with no running water, power other than what the stock could supply ( the origin of horse power). Remember the term dirt farmer? So when I retired it was to a 20 acre spot with a pond,,a well, (with bucket) and half pasture suitable for planting (a plow that can use people to pull) and all the other things( like hoes and rakes and hand broadcaster and so on) needed to dirt farm. The other half woodland with assorted wildlife. Now I fully expect most of the wild life will either be killed and mostly wasted (by people who are hungry but have no idea how to keep anything lift over from the first meal longer than a day) within 3 to 4 months.But It can keep me warm if I have the proper tools (saws -akes- splitting wedges)

          I also want to point out that a barn is not enough to protect your live stock. Your milk cow or manny goad will go the same way if you don't live with them ( or perhaps even if you do) Some idiot will shoot both the cow & calf or the nanny & kids cause that is a lot of food and then find they have not planed beyond that first meal. Some will not even be able to get that first meal before they give up and move on. Whole herds will be killed simply because it is easy. ,So protect you livestock like your children because your life depends literally on that. You and those with you in a sit in place farm type community had best consolidate and take on a siege mentality. Warm and fuzzy farm life will not exist. It never did.
          So while I opt to sit in place I expect to work just as hard if not harder than when I was a kid.
          Last edited by ZAGran; 03-15-2020, 01:01 PM. Reason: spelling. my mind works faster than my fingers