Andy was pulling duty on bug out perimeter security. We had heard shots coming from the woods at the far west end of our prep team property. This was not an unusual occurrence out in the rural area where we have planned our long term bug out existence. None-the-less it is always discomforting not knowing who might be unlawfully accessing your property lines. He left out on his Honda ATV to scout the end of the road line which was roughly two miles west from our camp area and cabins.
Keeping a Watchful Eye
Unfortunately for us, the west end is paralleled by a railroad track, the side of which allows for easy access down our north-south property line. We have often chased unauthorized trespassers from the area and even poachers shooting deer from the railroad tracks across our property line. Usually just a presence in the area thwarts any unwanted activity. So, a regular series of drive by cruises on an ATV is enough to let outsiders know we are about the posted area.
On this patrol as Andy drove by an open utility power line right-of-way that comes through our land, he noticed an ATV sitting near one of our deer hunting stands. Upon close examination with binoculars, he could see somebody sitting in the stand seat. He immediately put out a call on our camp radios for backup (might as well be melodramatic about it).
Another owner and I showed up in the clear view of the guy sitting in the stand. At this point, he hurriedly climbed out of the stand, jumped on his 4-wheeler, but it would not crank. He immediately abandoned his ride running off into the woods. The three of us noted he was carrying a hunting type rifle, which is a situation that could often turn dicey. We were glad he fled the scene.
A call to wildlife authorities went non-responsive, so the lesson as a prepper/survivalist is to never count on help from anybody else. You’re basically on your own. We decided not to chase the trespasser down, but we did confiscate his ATV and turned it in to the police station in town. The police officer said he knew who owned it and would put out the appropriate warning to stay out of our place. Yeah, right.
Maintaining a Safe Distance from Threats
Had this situation escalated into a confrontation, it could have turned ugly. I think the point that we outnumbered him helped, but what if Andy had been alone in camp? Had this been a real life SHTF event, the trespasser/poacher might have stood his ground just as well.
In these circumstances, the decision-making point is critical. I don’t know of anybody that really wants to get into a shootout over somebody crossing a property line, but what if the offending party takes the offense? I mean in this day and age thugs are killing shop owners or citizens on the streets for $5 bucks. It would be nothing for a trespasser to fire off a few rounds to settle the issue. The question is, will you (we) be ready to defend our position?
In a life and death situation, you can bet we are prepared to defend ourselves. But we want to be smart about it. Slinging lead might well put a stop to the advance, but it has to be dedicated targeting with some purpose. That purpose might not be to wound or kill somebody, but it might be just to peel some bark off a nearby tree. Preppers have to be ready for any such contingency whether bugging out or bugging in at the home residence.
Part of this “targeting” is knowing what we are shooting at especially given the firearm we hopefully are carrying at the time. The preference would be to maintain as maximum a distance as possible to make our own position more difficult to target from an adversary. Judging those distances has always been a difficult task to learn and practice. This is where modern technology steps in to help.
Enter the Nikon Prostaff 7i
It may sound unusual to the readership that I might suggest adding an electronic rangefinder to your prepper gear list. As a big game hunter all over America and Europe in years past, the use of a rangefinder was a normal occurrence. As a prepper now, it occurs to me the usefulness of one for those applications. And as to our prepping/survival tasks, the use of a rangefinder is still helpful for collecting vital game meat for the table. In longer range shooting attempts, it is good to knowingly nail down the exact distance to the targeted animal, be it an elk or a white-tailed deer. They are useful, too in ranging predators or nuisance game animals you may wish to dispatch before they grab your little Molly pup out of the camp yard.
This ranging principle works also for defending your property rights and or any site you may have picked to bug out on private or public lands. Is that band of 2-3+ unknowns crossing the fence at 300 or 400 yards? It would be nice to know. For this job let me recommend the new Nikon Prostaff 7i Laser Rangefinder. I have had one in hand for several months and the neighbors get tired of me ranging them in their yards. I can hardly wait for hunting season next month for further in the field testing. The 7i can range from 8-1300 yards. Yep, 1300. Too far to shoot, but plenty of range to make further decisions. Its magnification of 6x helps immensely to “paint” the target in yards or meters by user choice. The unit’s eye relief is 18.3mm which is really good if like me you are wearing eyeglasses. It uses one CR2 Lithium battery. It lasts forever, but buy a spare.
Also Read: 4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out
This Nikon’s size is only 4.4×1.5×2.8 inches. It is small and easily handled in the palm. Its objective diameter is 21mm so it lets in plenty of light for spotting targets. It also has a built in angle compensation which is super if you happen to be in an elevated position, or downhill from a ridge. The unit is also waterproof, which is always a good feature.
The Prostaff 7i is black in color, but has an orange stripe across it. You may think this trivial until you drop it in the grass or the forest floor. Controls are easy to learn and use and are very intuitive. The unit’s cover is grainy which aids in its gripping. There is also a provided neck lanyard, which I recommend using, then slipping the rangefinder into your shirt pocket. For prepping to hunt for food or protect your family from distant threats, a rangefinder is a highly useful piece of gear. The Nikon’s cost can be shopped around for about $270 or cheaper. Add it to your Christmas list now.