Sunday, April 11, 2010

Which Bug-Out Region Do You Live In?

The feasibility of any bug out plan depends a lot on your starting point.  Obviously, some regions of the country have more to offer than others in terms of places to go.  But every part of the Lower 48 has its share of potential bug out locations.  The map below shows eight major regions as I've divided them for the purposes of my book: Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late.



There is some crossover between the regions shown here, but the illustrator has done a pretty good job of placing the demarcation lines approximately the way I have divided the bug out locations described in the book.  Note the page numbers that will correspond to the beginning of each regional chapter.  The first four chapters are on general information and planning, including gear and methods of transportation.

My reasoning for these divisions is that these specific regions offer distinct variations in terrain, climate and plant and animal communities.  Again, there is some crossover in some areas, but anyone familiar with all these areas of the U.S. will see how survival skills and gear can be different from one region to the next.  Natural hazards including everything from weather to dangerous wildlife vary according to these regions, as do resources such as the availability or lack or water, edible plants and game animals.  It is this variation that made working on this book such an interesting project for me over the past several months, not to mention the real time I've spent out there backpacking, canoeing and kayaking in all of these regions at various times during the past 25 years.  Writing each chapter made me reminiscence about past trips and long to load up a canoe or backpack and go again. 

My home base is in the Gulf Coast region, and I stay here because of family ties as well as my love of the water - both the rivers and the Gulf itself.  I'm lucky to have a large number of bug out options close by because I live in one of the least populated states east of the Mississippi River.  Those of us living in small towns or rural areas are the least likely to need to bug out to begin with, but each region on the above map has its share of densely populated cities where the residents would do well to have a working knowledge of where to go if the SHTF and they have to get out.  Keep in mind that the vast majority of the populations of those cities are not going to have this knowledge and most will not even try to leave, but will instead wait for outside help that may or may not come.  Out here in the small towns and rural areas of America, most of us would pull together in such a situation and help each other out, as has been proven time and time again when the big Gulf hurricanes have hit the nearby coast.  In the aftermath of Katrina, the media covered the chaos and violence going down in New Orleans, while people along the even harder hit Mississippi Coast quietly rolled up their sleeves and went to work digging out of the rubble and rebuilding.

So it's obvious that where you live has a lot to do with how you should formulate your survival plans and can be a big factor in your chances of success or at least the degree of difficulty you would face.  But one thing we are blessed with here in the U.S. is plenty of undeveloped and uninhabited lands.  It may not seem so when you're driving past mile after mile of strip malls and suburban sprawl, but compared to so many other countries in the world there is a lot of unused land here - both public and private.  Have you explored all the potential bug out locations near you?  What if you travel a lot for your job or for pleasure?  Do you know where the big uninhabited areas are in other regions you frequent?  If not, you should think about it.  I hope that this kind of information detailed in my new book will be of use not only for bug out planning, but to encourage readers to get out and explore the great wild places available their own region and other parts of the country.  

25 comments:

  1. From what the map shows, I live on the boundary of the heartland and the gulf coast in Texas. But as it is a measured 575 miles from my house to Galveston, I guess I identify with the former, even though the name conjures up images of Kansas and Nebraska to me. My bug out location is my county, large ranch country that boasts a population of 1300 souls in a little over 900 square miles. Lots of mesquite, river bottom salt cedar thickets, rolling hills and canyons. Live water is hard to find, windmill water mostly too brackish except for the livestock, but I've got a little hidey with good water, deer, turkeys, quail, and wild hogs, plus a stock pond stocked with mr. whiskers. Yep I live in a pretty good part of the world. Sorry about the rest of ya'll. Have a good one.
    Jim

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  2. Excellent part of the world to be in, Jim. You're definitely off the beaten track and in a sparsely populated area. I love that kind of country myself, having spent a good bit of time roaming around Texas. You're not likely to be bothered there, and as you say, there's lots of game in those thickets.

    As for the line between the Midwest and the Gulf Coast, that's one area I asked the illustrator to change. The line that defines the Gulf region should be moved south to follow the curve of the coast at about a 100 miles inland. Anyway - this map is just approximate.

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  3. 10-4 Scott, Godspeed and keep your powder dry. I hope we never need it, but I'm gonna be as prepared as I can. Thank God I don't live in a city.
    Jim

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  4. No need to move borders for me, as I live in the heart of "The Heartland" on your map. Small town, population under 2500, in a farming county. My main goal is to stay in place until the going gets really rough, then bug out to the family farm about 25 miles away in the hills.
    You might get tired of eating corn, but if you can starve around here, you're trying to die. Plenty of upland game in the hills, plenty of fish in the rivers, streams and lakes, plenty of edible plants found everywhere the State hasn't sprayed. If you don't mind snow, this is a good area.

    rananmacar

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  5. Real close to border with Mexico, upriver of the mouth of the Rio Grande by about 60 miles or so. We know what hot is, lol. Very long growing season, but natural water source, other than Rio Grande River are very sparce. If you are going to survive ' n thrive, knowing what natural foods you can glean is very important. The valley used to be a winter crop hot spot (still have some citrus and some crops), but a lot of the good land is buried under asphalt by 'Civilization' - ugh.

    Along the coast wouldn't be bad, but be prepared for mosquitos. Also, proximity to Mexico is a good / bad thing. If U.S. government becomes rogue, having a close national border is a possibility to cross. OTOH, that goes both ways and current drug cartel violence could swarm us from traffic coming this way. Thats not good at all.

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  6. Hello there , i live in the appalachians/ky
    i was born here and will die here , cant think of anywhere else id want to be .

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  7. Hi Don,

    Can't blame you for wanting to stay there. Beautiful country.

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  8. I live in new york city. I feel like the only person I know that is planning or prepping. I am concerned about getting out of the city if tshtf. I am considering bugging in until the roads clear or getting out early if that is even a possibility. Any thoughts?

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    1. ADVISE: Get out NOW, while you still can. It will be too congested there to try to get out afterwards. Imagine the traffic trying to get through the tunnels and over the bridges, and the Brooklyn-Queens expressway etc. I lived in Brooklyn in 1970 and it was bad then, it must be hell now. My oldest daughter was born in Staten Island and it took us too long to get from Brooklyn over the VNB to Staten Island when I was in labor, imagine when the SHTF, impossible. Be "smart" and find another place to live out out away from all that chaos while you can. I'm very afraid you might be sorry if you don't.

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    2. Unless you live in the northern areas of the city, from which you could conceivably escapeto the north (although I can't imagine making it through the Bronx in the middle of a bad SHTF situation with riots), you'd better get out before then. Don't count on being able to get across ANY bridge without a problem. I would not consider staying a viable option.

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  9. I lived in NYC until last summer and was constantly worried about another attack or some sort of catastrophe. I kept a full tank of gas in the car, a gallon of water, $500 cash, themal blankets, food bars, and a small bucket of kitty litter--no bathroom stops if we were fleeing SHTF. We have a place upstate to go, but I was afraid we couldn't get there and so my idea was that we leave no later than 30 minutes of SHTF. If we didn't a cabin upstate, I would have kept a tent in the car too. I also worried about the president getting assasinated and riots in the city--again out in 30 mins. Having or being a strong, saine friend with skills -- good too. Safety in numbers. If not a car, a small motor bike and a 72 hour go-bag. A small bike could maneuver between cars in traffic and could be stored more easily. I miss the city, but don't miss the worry. Good luck.

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  10. I guess my old man was right in teaching me how to snare/dead-fall,lean to's about best places to hide and have more than one way out of said place and other ways of surviving a SHTF. I grew up shooting and cleaning the animals i took, and the plants I could use for food and medical supplies, right down to jerk'ing meat and smoking it too. I was spec-war in the military which taught me to survive with mimimal gear. I also am lucky to live in the PNW were there are many places to survive and even thrive. After reading a few books also I started making small stashes of food and ammo and meds, in different areas in case I cant get to one I have others. But your book also made me think of more things I could do to prepare for the SHTF for myself and family. Thanks for the info. Luck to you if things do go sideways.

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  11. I live by the base in the Florida panhandle. Though past hurricanes people have banded and worked together. Don't think thats possible now that the murderer rate here jumping 35% since Katrina. We were flooded with evacuees that were poverty stricken before Katrina. And they have stayed and made a home here was once a great place to live. I have a bugout plan to leave. I have a place to go that is hidden. Its not random spot. Its family property .Not accessible to cars. Water and food is plentiful. I choose to stay in the region. It is my home and it does not get that cold.

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  12. One of the reasons I love living in Alaska - it seems to always be left off of the Lower 48 maps, which I think is actually great in a SHTF scenario. People tend to forget how large our beautiful state is. We get Texans always bragging about their land size and it's always funny to see the look on their face when Alaskans remind them that if you cut our state in half, Texas would drop to the third largest state. ^_^

    Great article though! Thanks!

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  13. Thank you for this...I am just starting this process and it is daunting to say the least. I really appreciate you taking the time to share what you know. God bless you.

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  14. I am new to disaster prepping. My interest was aroused when I watched some of the Doomsday Prepper shows. I really thought it was just a made for TV show but since getting on Pinterest and finding so many "real Preppers , I have since decided that I am not so nuts as my hubby thinks I am. Thanks for all of your info-- it is a big help .

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  15. I was born on a farm in mid sothern vermont in a vally surrounded by mountains. Unfortinaitly i live 2hrs 45 min away from there. but the good thing is i am in the same area of new hampshire. I currently live in a small town but there are woods and mountains everywhere. when i walk my dog i look around for places that i can hide while im bugging out. so if i spot someone we can duck into the brush or over the banks to get outta sight. but i have one spot that i have to get to. its about 30 min by foot from my house. i also have a 40 min drive to work so i know that there are many hiding places to bug out incase im near work. i am a landscaper so i work outdoors and almost all of the places i am are surrounded by woods so i try to keep my eye open to my surroundings no matter where i am. just in case. my bug out bag is the same bag i use for work. it has everything i need to do my job and everything i need to survive off the land. My 2 most prize possetions in it are a camping wilderness survival book and the total outdoorsman hunting fishing camping and survival guide. with a few other essentials. like 2 mre's and a few knives, a tarp a fishing kit, 2 fire starter flints, a cople pairs of sox, a small SOL kit with a whistle, compas signal mirror, flint fishing kit, 3 leathermans a hunting beartooth knife and a bota bag for water, im currently looking into water purification tablets.

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  16. I live in Northeastern Wisconsin. I am minutes from some of the most heavily forested land up here, and when the SHTF, my family and I are gone in a very short hurry!

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  17. I live in the lakes and wood region. My father and grandfather taught my siblings and I how to track, hunt, navigate and fish from an early age. I am so thankful that my dad let me help train our duck, and pheasant hunting dogs. Only major downside I see is that a lot of people will be running to the woods, and or go farther north.

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  18. I've thought about this a lot and, from San Diego, there is no really good plan. Anywhere with water will be too crowded and everywhere else will not be suitable. Anywhere not crowded but with water will simply be too far to get to without a gasoline infrastructure and I don't think I can get my kids to ride a bike 1000 miles. :(

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  19. I like the map, just wish it would include Canada. I live where I can see the Rocky Mountains from my front door and the prairies from my back porch. There are many options for bugging out. Plenty of hunting, fishing and growing food. I enjoy the site, just wish there was more Canadian content. Have a great day all.

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    1. We will all just go to the cottage in Canada. Bugging out is known as backwoods camping here. This is why survivor never lets Canadians on, because we would be brewing beer, organizing a sporting event like coconut hockey and settling in way too comfortably. Funny and not far from the truth.

      We are a resource rich, water rich, low population, well educated country. A collapse will be different in Canada, and recovery will be much faster, as we have far fewer people, and more resources. Actually, Canada may be one of the most able countries to survive and even prosper without any imports at all. We have more food, oil, water, than we could possibly use.
      Canadians just need to stay away from the border and be able to wait, or go defend it.
      I am sorry to say our neighbors from the south may not be welcome at that time by those of use that already live in the "woods up north". We are just as well armed as our southern neighbors. The corruption extends here too, fiat lies and all, and is worse in fact. The results will just not have the same impact on 34 million people with a lot of resources, as it will on over 300 million people with a lot less room and resources, and not enough food or water. The large American cities have our whole population in one tiny place, more in some cases.
      I fear for those people, as they seem to have been deemed disposable by those who value only money.
      The Canadian population could almost disappear into the bush, and there are not really very many roads. Very different situation, physically, even if the politics and bankers are in the same crooked scheme. Certainly not good for us either, just not the same.

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  20. I live in north central MS, right near the line between coast and heartland. Got some acreage with a pond, places for a garden and good cache spots. Being a good southern boy, I've also got lots of weapons. I grew up in a small town on the Chickasawhay River. Love your books Scott and also the blogs.

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  21. My husband and I are just putting together our own bug out bags and prepping for that. We live in a large city in the heartland, which if the SHTF, we would have no choice but to leave. To make matters worse, we live in a dangerous part of our city, so the first thing that would start happening is looting, for sure. We have two kids, and our closest family is a little under 400 miles away, (who are preppers). Our only option is to try our best to get to them, first in our car, and then on foot if necessary. Extremely daunting, we figure that if we had to walk we could do it within one to two months, so we would need extended survival gear/knowledge. I will check out your books/blogs and glean any knowledge I can!

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  22. I live in a rule area of the Heartland Region. A small town of about 7,000 people and a few coon dogs. I find this area just about perfect. Thanks for the post.

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