Living off the land is a lifestyle choice and one that many people find rewarding not only for preparedness but in the way it changes your view of nature. Growing up deep in the Appalachian mountains 45 minutes from the nearest “town” I spent a lot of time around people who still live like its old times. And the topic of using hunting and fishing for not just sustenance but also sustainability is massive and it would take dozens for articles to cover it completely. But today I want to touch on a few things you can do either to make your homestead more self-sustaining or utilizing everything you can in a disaster scenario.
Fishing is not just a cathartic pastime but it can also provide a number of avenues an avid DIYer can take themselves down. Learning to use all the parts of your fish to the fullest extent can really improve your quality of life in a survival situation.
Fishing with traps
I want to be very clear here. Check your local laws and regulations regarding trapping either fish or animals. This is not something to mess around with and too many people doing wrong it can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. However in a survival situation when active fishing is less a recreational activity this can be a great way to get yourself a passive food source and score some useful materials to be used in other parts of your life. There are some excellent guides out there for how to make all kinds of fish traps and it might be something we get into a lot of detail on later. But for now, you can use the following tips on the fish your actually casting a line to get familiar with the process if you need to ramp things up one day.
Utilizing all parts of a fish
Many fish are inherently smaller than a lot of animals you would go hunting for. And as such most people don’t realize how much you can get out of the little guys. While this is not an exhaustive list it gives you a good idea of how to get started making use of them more efficiently.
The scales of a fish have numerous scientific usages. But for everyday folk, it is common to use scales as fertilizer for crops. While they don’t have everything that all plants need they are a great source of phosphorus and nitrogen, which is a large chunk of what plants use to grow. We use one part fish scales and innards and two parts water in a sealed container until they are emulsified (the time can vary but usually takes a few weeks).
Fishbones are amazing for sewing needles. My grandmother had tons, and I mean tons, of fishbone needles. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but in a situation where you do not have access to a metal needle, they can really be a lifesaver. Imagine this is a post-apocalyptic scenario and your only winter clothing gets a hole in it or pops a button. You’ll be really happy you have a way to repair clothing or even a way to make new gear. And I can’t speak to this personally but Grandma actually preferred bone needles.
Again check your local laws and regulations for using bait. But fish are excellent bait if you are hunting and can be great to attract larger fish the next time you cast a line. Think about how strong a smell fish is and then consider how many animals can smell things that you don’t even know exist.
Since I touched on the topic a second ago I wanted to say that growing crops is really important. That is a whole topic in itself and takes some time to get good at it. But if you are serious about planning for a disaster or getting more self-sustainable then this is 100% something you need to be doing. And come on, fresh fruits and veggies are always better than store-bought anyway.
Hunting is a favorite activity for millions of people and learning to use all the parts of the animal that you bag is very rewarding. It also honors the animals’ sacrifice and in a way allows it to live on through you in the things you can accomplish with their remains.