Preppers: Using a Swamp as a Bug Out Location

   06.12.18

Before we begin, let’s define the difference between a marsh and a swamp. A marsh is mostly populated by grass, while a swamp is mostly populated by trees, such as cypress trees.

There are places where the line between a marsh and swamp are blurred. However, for the most part, a swamp is a low lying area where trees grow.

On a personal note, I grew up (1980s) along the saltwater marshes of Southeast Texas. My buddies and I used to camp next to a marsh, then the following weekend, we’d camp in the nearby swamps. We would take a flat bottom aluminum boat through the bayous until we spotted a decent camping spot. After scouting the site for snakes and bogs, we would set up our hammocks and one person tents.

My buddies and I camped in a wide variety of marsh locations throughout Southeast Texas over the years. Some of the sites were picked as bug out locations for our families, while other sites were just for weekend camping trips.

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about using a swamp as a bug out location.

Pros to Bugging Out to a Swamp

One of the big bonuses about using a swamp as a bug out location is the availability of food. Take the Cajuns for example. Having worked in Sulphur, Louisiana for around seven years, I’ll tell you what, those Cajuns can make a meal from anything!

Some of the guys I worked with would bring homemade hogshead cheese to share with everyone. One guy used a crawfish cooker to cook duck gumbo while we were working.

Large mouth bass caught on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

The following can be found in the typical swamp:

  • Crawfish
  • Alligators
  • Fish: perch, catfish, bass, crappie, and bowfin.
  • Wild pigs
  • Small game
  • Deer
  • Seasonal Ducks
  • Snakes
  • Turtles

With some foraging skills, canoe, kayak, or boat, trotlines, fishing poles, a small game rifle such as a Ruger 10/22, there is no reason why someone could not have a steady supply of food in a swamp.  Even if it is just killing a Cottonmouth here and there, swamps are teeming with all kids of wildlife.

One of the big draws to bugging out to a swamp is how remote the area is. Chances are few people will be walking around and find your site.

Cons to Bugging Out to a Swamp

Depending upon location, some swamps may be susceptible to flooding. The swamps around Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana are just a few feet above sea level. When there is a heavy rain, the water flows into one of the many rivers and out to the Gulf of Mexico.

Swamp in Southeast Texas

Other swamps may be below a man-made dam, which help control seasonal flooding. When the reservoir behind the dam reaches a certain depth, the flood gates have to be opened, thus the swamps downstream may flood.

Being just a couple of feet above the water that flows through them, the soil may stay moist. Stepping off a boat onto land, it is not uncommon for boots to sink in the mud.

Water is rarely clean, which means bathing in a swamp can prove difficult bathe because the of the muddy water.

Then there are the pests, such as snakes and biting bugs. Mosquitoes come out in mass to feed on anything they can find just before sundown. I kid you not, when the mosquitoes come out, they sound like thousands of miniature helicopters.

Any type of cut could easily become infected. There is always some kind of exposure to dirt or dirty water to infect injuries.

Final Thoughts

Just so the reader knows, I love swamps and the various opportunities they offer. Whether it is camping, fishing, or nature photography, there is always something to see and do in a swamp.

Then again, swamps can be hostile to visitors, and they are not for everyone. On a recent fishing trip, I rounded some lily pads and came face-to-face with an alligator. It was no more than 15 feet from the boat. Gators can pose a threat to pets, children and even adults.

At Mill Creek Park on Lake Sam Rayburn, there is an alligator that shows no fear of people or pets.  The gator was reported to game wardens as attempting to get someone’s pet dog out of the boat with the owners in the boat. This gator has been fed so much by people that it no longer has a fear of them, which can be very dangerous to pets and people.

On a camping trip in a swamp, I did not see a Cottonmouth, almost stepped on it, and the snake struck at my boot.

Besides all of the dangers, a swamp could provide the isolation needed to weather the outbreak of a new plague, or some other type of social collapse.

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