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What Homesteaders Need to Know About Predators

What Homesteaders Need to Know About Predators

You need to understand your local predators to keep your animals safe.

 

Hello everyone, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas back again with Part Two of my three-part series about protecting yourself from predators. In this week’s installment we’re going to discuss the most common predators, how you can tell what is attacking your animals, and what you can do to stop it.

 

What Are the Most Common Predators?

If you’re homesteading, these are just some of the many predators that put your animals at risk.

  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Hawks
  • Weasels
  • Bobcats
  • Minks
  • Wild boars
  • Owls
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Snakes
  • Mountain lions

 

What Predator Is Killing Your Animals?

When it comes to identifying a predator who has attacked your animal, the best place to start is by doing your homework. Before you set your homestead up, understand which predators are native to the environment and what they like to eat. This will allow you to understand the level of threat that is posed and to plan accordingly.

 

If the predator has already attacked, like a forensic investigator, you’ll have to examine the scene of the crime. Are there any footprints still visible? Not only can you identify a predator by its prints, you can also identify it by its gait. Were any claw marks left behind? Were your animals killed and left at the scene, or were their bodies dragged away? The answers to these questions will help you determine what kind of predator you’ve got on your hands.

 

You can also identify a predator via its scat. This can not only tell you what has been eating your animals, it can tell you what else it is eating: an important clue when you’re trying to identify a predator.

 

How to Protect Your Animals

There are both lethal and non-lethal methods of protecting your homestead from predators. Here are a few you may want to try first. You don’t have to wait for a predator to make its presence known before you take proactive steps.

 

The Best Defense Is a Strong Offense

Most barriers aren’t going to keep predators out. No matter how high you make your fence, predators can still climb and fly over or burrow underneath. You can bring your animals into a fully enclosed anti-predator shelter at night, but these can be incredibly costly to construct if you want them to be truly effective. There are also animals that prey during the daylight, like mountain lions.

 

Your best bet is to build a barrier and use it in conjunction with another method. To begin with, clear away any brush where predators can hide, and make sure you don’t leave pet food outside where it may attract them.

 

Electric fences can be effective for keeping larger predators like coyotes and wolves out, and some homesteaders believe these animals have the ability to communicate the rest of the danger to the rest of the pack. This is beneficial because the original animal who received the shock will prevent others from approaching the fence. That said, an electric barrier may not be effective where smaller predators are involved.

 

When it comes to protecting your animals from predators, a dog really is man’s best friend. A livestock guardian dog is a pastoral dog that has been specifically bred for the purpose of protecting everything from chickens to larger animals. These dogs become a part of your herd, and they’ll fight to the death to protect it. Because of this, they’ll be right there protecting your livestock 24/7.

 

Believe it or not, you can also use llamas as livestock guardian animals.  Llamas will stay your flock to protect it. Male llamas have been known to protect female sheep who are giving birth, and female llamas will circle the flock to keep it safe.

 

Keeping cats on your homestead can also keep your eggs safe from predatory snakes.

 

When It’s Time to Shoot

In many cases, there’s no reason to shoot a predatory animal. It is possible to live peacefully together with predators. As long as it hasn’t attacked your homestead yet, it’s best to hang back and observe it to determine whether or not it’s a threat or it’s just passing through.

 

A good general rule of thumb is to never take a life unless someone else is in danger of losing their life. The predatory animal being in the vicinity of your homestead alone is not a threat. However, if the predator has already attacked your animals, you may have to kill it to keep it from coming back because it’s developed a taste for what you’ve got.

 

Be sure to join me, Rob Raskin, again next week, when I’ll be discussing how to protect your homestead from mice and other rodents in Part Three of my three-part pests and predators series.

 

 

Learn how to identify what killed your chickens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc8jMscrQYo

 

These are the best dogs for homesteading.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euw7SVy0nz8

 

SHTF Guide to Pest Control

SHTF Guide to Pest Control

Mosquitoes Existed Before Us, but We Don’t Have to Let Them Outlive Us

 

Hello everyone! Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and this week I’m going to be discussing pest control. This is Part One in a three-part series, because there are a lot of different insects and other animals out there that can pose a threat to survivalists, homesteaders, and their animals.

 

According to the most recent studies, mosquitoes have existed for 226 million years. They survived the Ice Age, and they’ll survive the apocalypse. Just about everyone in the world has been bitten by a mosquito at least once, and most of us have been bitten multiple times.

 

 

Mosquito Facts

Once you learn more about the habits of mosquitos, you’ll understand why mosquitos are winning the them vs. everything else in evolutionary history war. Mosquitoes come out on top every time, and here’s why.

  • Mosquito season is several months long, beginning in summer and continuing late into the fall.
  • How did the mosquito survive the Ice Age? The same way they survive every winter: hibernation.
  • Mosquitoes bite day and night, so there’s no time you can avoid them.
  • These pests can be found indoors and outdoors, so there’s no place you can go to avoid them.
  • Mosquitoes can drink three times their weight in blood. Your blood. While you sleep. Let that sink in for a while.
  • There are no vaccinations or medicines that are effective against most mosquito-borne illnesses. These illnesses include malaria, Zika fever, West Nile virus, and many strains of encephalitis.
  • Mosquitoes can smell your breath, so the only way to hide from them is to stop breathing. It sounds like the plot of a horror movie, but it’s real.
  • You may not even feel a mosquito’s bite. You won’t know until your system reacts to it after the fact.
  • Over a million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne illnesses, with another 700 million sickened by mosquito-borne illnesses.

 

The only way you can stay completely safe from mosquitos is to prevent their bites in the first place.

 

How to Make a Homemade Mosquito Trap

Commercial mosquito traps can be pricey, and they won’t be available after the SHTF. You can make these inexpensive mosquito traps at home.

 

Bottle Mosquito Trap

To make a bottle mosquito trap, you’ll need a two-liter soda bottle, a knife, a measuring cup, yeast, and brown sugar. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors, so whenever possible go with a green soda bottle.

 

First, you’ll need to use the knife to cut the soda bottle in half. After that, mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with 1 ¾ cups of extremely hot water in the bottom half of the bottle, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let the water cool off, and then add two pinches of yeast but this time don’t stir.

 

The next step is to insert the top half upside-down so the mouth of the bottle is pointed down toward the sugar-yeast-water mixture, with the wider opening of the bottle pointed upward.

 

You have now created an effective mosquito death-trap. Mosquitoes typically fly four to six feet off the ground, so this is the best height to place your mosquito trap. They prefer to feed at night when they can avoid the sun, but they’re also attracted to certain types of bright lights. Try to place your mosquito trap near a UV light if possible.

 

Amish Flying Insect Trap

The Amish avoid electricity and the conveniences of modern society, and because of this they are already prepared for TEOTWAWKI in many ways. The Amish have already developed an inexpensive mosquito trap that doesn’t rely on electricity, and it works on other insects, as well.

 

The Amish flying insect trap relies upon scent to attract mosquitoes. They say you’ll attract more flies with sugar than you will with vinegar, but this insect trap calls for both. To make it, you’ll need a cup of sugar, a cup of vinegar, two cups of water, one or two banana peels, and a two-liter soda bottle.

 

This trap is supposed to give off a scent that insects are attracted to, and once they fly in, they land in the fluid and drown. It is supposed to be hung in a tree or place on an elevated area to help get the scent into the air.

 

To make the Amish flying insect trap, cut the bottle in the same method we described in the last trap, but you’ll also need to punch two holes in it so you can hang it from a tree.

 

Mix the ingredients together, making sure the banana peels are completely submerged, and then place the mixture in the bottom half of your cut bottle. It’s simple, yet effective.

 

Next week we’re going to discuss how to protect yourself from predators if you’re homesteading, so be sure to check back!

 

 

Here are 8 all-natural ways to keep mosquitoes away.

 

Are you fore of a visual learner? This video will teach you how to build a mosquito trap.

 

Your Guide to Emergency Winter Shelters

Building a shelter to protect yourself from the elements is a matter of life and death.

Hello all! This is Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, back with Part Two of our three-part winter survival series. In this installment, I’m going to discuss emergency winter shelters, why they’re necessary, and how you can build them.

 

After TEOTWAWKI, sheltering in place as we do for many storms today may be out of the question. Your home may have been destroyed, and staying in a neighborhood where people can find you could prove deadly.

 

Recent studies show that as many as 75% of Americans are not prepared for a disaster. According to a US Department of Housing and Urban Development report, 0.17% of the population is homeless, with over half a million of this country’s citizens out on the streets. In a cold weather climate in which failing to find shelter will mean certain death, there will be a lot of panic. You want to be as far away from it as possible.

 

With so many people who will be lacking even basic supplies and preparation after a catastrophic event, expect any shelters that are available to be filled to capacity. In winter, you can expect shelters to be much more difficult to get into, if it’s even safe enough or possible for any shelters to exist at all. That is why it’s imperative to have the knowledge, tools, and skill to create an emergency winter shelter yourself.

 

If you’ve done your planning, you may already have a skilled survival team in place, which can significantly increase your manpower. If members of your group are injured, they may still be able to help. For those whose injuries are too significant, the rest of the group can build a shelter that will give them protection from the cold while they recover.

 

Building Your Shelter: What You Need to Know

As I mentioned last week, hypothermia can kick in quickly. If you don’t get a weather-proof shelter into place, and fast, none of your other prepping efforts will matter. Whether you have tools on-hand or not, you can build an adequate shelter.

 

Tips for Building Your Winter Shelter

These basic tips will get you started.

  • Build during the daylight if possible. At night you’ll be vulnerable to predators, human and animal, and you’ll be more likely to have an accident while using your tools.
  • Don’t try to build an elaborate shelter. In the cold, it’s important to conserve your energy. Your shelter should be quick and easy to assemble.
  • Make sure your shelter is small enough that it can hold heat. If you are part of a group, think multiple smaller segments that can easily be added onto.
  • You want your shelter’s entrance to be at a 90 degree angle to the wind. It needs to be well-ventilated, and if you’re facing into the wind you won’t be able to blow smoke out and away.
  • If visibility would be in your favor, take steps to stand out from the landscape to help rescuers to see you.
  • If visibility would not be in your favor, take steps to make sure your shelter blends into the landscape, so predators won’t find you.

 

Snow Shelters

In this week’s installment, we’ll take a look at shelters you can build out of snow or directly in the snow. Even with no other materials around, you can still create these shelters with a few basic tools.

 

Snow Cave

If you find yourself without shelter in the deep snow, the snow cave is your best bet. You’ll want to make sure you only attempt this in an area where the snow is firm enough that it won’t collapse, because you could be suffocated or buried alive.

 

To build a snow cave, dig into the side of a snowbank, but only after you’ve determined it’s stable enough. From there, dig upward again and create a makeshift platform out of snow with enough space for you to sleep on it. For ventilation, create a small hole in the “roof” of the structure.

 

Snow Trench

If you have a saw and solid snow, you can create a snow trench of spur-of-the-moment winter survival. Saw a trench in the snow, cover it with branches, and pack those branches with snow for insulation. If the snow isn’t solid you can build blocks out of the snow to insulate the shelter. You can fit two people in this type of shelter.

 

Tree Shelter

In heavily wooded areas, you’ll find areas under tree branches where the snow is not as dense because most of it landed on the boughs above. Find an area like this and dig down to the ground beneath the snow to create a small shelter. You can pack the hole you dug with insulating materials like leaves, branches, or even heated rocks.

 

Be sure to join us again next week for Part Three of our three-part winter survival series. We’ll be discussing more elaborate shelters for long-term winter survival and give tips for choosing the site.

 

 

You can make a winter shelter without any tools!

 

Learn more about preparing for winter survival.

 

Long-Term Winter Survival Shelters

These are the shelters for you when you’re in it for the long haul

Hello all! Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and this week we’re back for Part 3 of our winter survival series. While some survival situations will be temporary, such as the aftermath of an earthquake or a short-lived episode of civil unrest, other situations will stretch out for longer—and sometimes even permanently.

 

In these situations, you’ll need to worry about long-term survival in all four seasons, especially if you’re in a climate that freezes in winter.

 

If the SHTF in winter, the first thing you’ll need to do is find shelter. Last week we discussed emergency shelters you can put-together in a hurry. This week we’re going to take a deeper look into shelters that will allow you to live in a more comfortable situation that is better suited to long-term survival.

 

When it’s cold, it is critical that you stay dry. In the wild, your options for materials to keep yourself dry may be limited. Even if you don’t have many materials available, you can still build a shelter that will keep you dry, warm, and alive beyond the initial crisis.

 

Once you have your emergency winter shelter in place, if the situation is stable, you may be ready to build a permanent or semi-permanent shelter that will allow you to live more comfortably in the wild in any season. This article will give you the ins and outs of building a long-term winter survival shelter. Consider this your starting point for further research.

 

Location, Location, Location

Just as with any other type of real estate, location is everything. This should be the first thing you’re worried about when you’re choosing the perfect spot to build your shelter. When you’re deciding whether or not a spot is the right choice, you’ll want to look for potential danger like vulnerability to flash floods or exposure, either to the elements, predators, or other humans.

 

When you’re choosing your location…

  • Use the sun as your guide. The earlier you get to work on your shelter each day, the better. Start as early as possible each morning and stop while the sun is still high enough in the sky to allow time to return to your temporary emergency shelter before nightfall.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of access to fuel and building materials. You’ll need to be able to get to both things quickly, so they need to be close.
  • Look for a place with natural wind barriers in place, such as large rocks and trees or caves. Make sure there’s no heavy snow drift, look for ground you can easily clear, and avoid steep areas that might be difficult or impossible to reach if it’s icy.
  • Steer clear of trees or rocks that look like they might fall.

 

Water Sources

You don’t want to be too close or too far from water. In winter any streams might be frozen, but you still may be able to see signs of how high the water can potentially rise when spring comes on nearby trees or rocks. Even if there are no marks, keep in mind that streams can rise as many as ten feet at night, and lakes can, too.

 

Local Predators

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with local predators and their habits so you can keep protecting yourself in mind when you’re choosing a shelter location. Avoid building at night, when predators will be out hunting. Predators are also something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of settling too close to a water source where they may come to drink.

 

Semi-Permanent and Permanent Shelters

Now we’re going to take a look at two different shelters: the igloo and the cabin. These are two popular options that each have benefits and drawbacks.

 

Igloo

While the igloo won’t last once the weather warms up, it’s an excellent choice for areas of deep freeze and heavy, deep snow and ice.

 

To build an igloo, you’ll need to start by using an axe to cut a triangle-shaped block of ice or form one out of snow and pack it tightly. Next, begin making trapezoidal-shaped blocks with tapered edges. From the first block you’ll want to arrange the rest of the blocks in a circle, stacking them inward until the dome shape is formed. The final block you’ll put into the center of the ceiling of your igloo is known as the keystone. Make sure you leave a door and a cold well, that you create holes for ventilation, and that you’ve built a sleeping platform inside.

 

Cabin

If you’re fortunate enough to have timber and nails, you can build a cabin. This is only an option if you have a lot of time to safely build. One of the best things about cabins in winter is you can warm it up with a stove. The cabin will hold the heat in while protecting you from elements like wind and snow. If you want access to plenty of wood, find a location with a lot of trees nearby. Once you’ve got your frame in place, you can use your axe to split trees and nail them to the frame. The more earth, leaves, etc. you can pack around the walls of your cabin, the better.

 

 

This video will teach you how to build an igloo by yourself.

 

Learn more about cabin building on a budget.