Doomsday Preppers: Snake Blocker

With the last couple of episodes, I’ve started to notice a trend of each episode only focusing on two groups (compared to the usual three per episode last season). And instead of splitting each episode cleanly down the middle, the segments have been coming out a little uneven – in fact, this segment received only about a third of the time devoted to the Seven Trumpet crowd.
This episode’s second individual is one Snake Blocker, jack-of-many trades currently operating from around Denver, Colorado.
snake-blockerHe’s of Apache descent, and seems pretty in touch with that side of himself, which is good to see. Too often modern Native Americans get lured in—and ground down—by the call of White culture. Nice to see Snake’s kept his head.
As our narrator introduces him, we hear how he always tries to emulate his ancestors’ ways of life, and uphold their traditions. Apparently this includes interpreting dreams and prophecies, which leads him to conclude that the US economy is bound for collapse. Wait, he had to interpret his dreams to deduce that? Hell, I know it’s assured, and I’ve never had an economic dream (tons of dreams about air- and spacecraft falling out of the sky, though, for what it’s worth). I’m sure his Apache forebears could’ve told him the same, based purely on observations of our culture’s counter-to-the-laws-of-ecology foundation of infinite expansion in a finite world.
Of course, when it comes to holding onto your ancestors’ lifeways, it’s pretty tough to get by on hunting-and-gathering in the impoverished ecosystem this culture has left in its wake. Then again, when your ancestral lands are stolen by a genocidal culture who believes Their way is the only right way for people to live, what do you expect?

Snake’s biggest motivator—and challenge—is his new wife Melissa. He wants to be able to provide for her in any contingency, but isn’t sure if she’ll be able to ‘rough it’ when the time comes.
And Snake has a novel strategy of survival, one this bunkers-and-guns-heavy show rarely features: when things go south, he plans on grabbing his partner, hopping on his motorcycle, and going nomad.
(While I agree with his reasons for choosing a motorcycle—primarily the ease of navigating congested roads—it’s important to remember that a bicycle has the same advantage, is only like, 1/10th the weight, and requires zero fossil fuels).
So to put themselves to the test, Snake and Melissa head for the hills, where they’ll try out some survival skills to see if they’re up to the challenge.
First up is staying hydrated. They come across some stagnant puddles, which they drink using some of those third-world-water filter straws. I like the idea of having a disposable way to suck water directly out of the source, but they have their disadvantages too. First of these is capacity—each straw is only rated to filter something like, twenty gallons. Second, they’re based off that ‘activated carbon’ stuff, which I’m pretty sure don’t handle the two big guys when it comes to dirty water—giardia and cryptosporidium. To take care of those, you’re better off boiling water, or passing it through a heavy-duty Katadyn filter or the like. Actually, the Lifestraw is probably the optimum for short-term outings (what with its’ 1,000 gallon capacity, ability to filter the important critters, and light weight).
There’s a shot of Snake trying to swish water from the puddle into the narrow neck of what I swear is a Red Stripe bottle. Ideally, you’re better off with a wide-mouth bottle, but if you don’t have one, an empty ziplock-type bag—or a condom, in a pinch—can make a handy water-scooper.

Next challenge is staying fed. Obviously not nearly as important as water (after all, you can survive for three weeks without food but only three days without the wet stuff), but nobody likes to be out in the woods on an empty stomach. Snake finds a monstrous ant mound and digs out some six-legged snacks. He eats some of the ants, but unless you’re in an area with those honey-assed ants, I wouldn’t bother. Instead, focus on something that can’t crawl away or bite you—larvae! Ray Mears demonstrates a great way to collect larvae (get the bugs to work for you!) in his Belarus bushcraft film.

After Melissa passes on the creepy-crawlies, Snake decides to try for something more meaty, and actually shoots a nice big jackrabbit, right through the eye. Better yet, he doesn’t use some big, ugly, black plastic gun, he uses a wooden bow! Finally! Man, I really mean it when I say there’s not nearly enough archery on this show!
Like I said, there was a time when you couldn’t throw a stick west of the Mississippi without hitting a buffalo or elk or something sizeable to eat, but not anymore, so they have to make do with the rabbit. Snake skips his knife and skins the rabbit with the teeth in a coyote skull (somehow), whips up a fire with a bow-drill, and roasts the whole critter, eyes and all. And major thumbs-up on thanking the Great Spirit for the nourishment the rabbit will give them. I was kind of surprised he didn’t do it when he shot it, but he made up for it at suppertime.

With water, food, and fire taken care of, I’m disappointed they didn’t have time to tackle Shelter. Especially since the couple passed a little wikiup framework when they reached their camp, I would’ve liked to see how he made it sleepable, but alas, we run out of time. Like I said at the beginning, Snake really gets the short end of the stick in the episode, which is too bad because I would’ve liked to see more of him, particularly because folks with his kind of survival approach are criminally under-represented on this show. As he says, folks with alternate methods of supporting themselves (in other words, those who don’t have to rely on the locked-up food at the supermarket) are the ones who will really be able to survive.

In their assessment, the ‘experts’ suggest that Snake get familiar with snares and traps (they say hunting is too much work), and I’m inclined to agree. Of course, there’s no reason to keep everything primitive; you can throw a couple of large Victor traps in your pack, and a medium-sized Havahart trap on the back of the bike, and you can catch anything from packrats on up to cats!
However, despite the fact that he seems perfectly competent to handle himself in the wilderness, in the end the ‘experts’ give Snake just 48 points for four months’ initial survival (which is the second-lowest score yet).
This is just further proof that these so-called ‘experts’ are unable to objectively evaluate someone who operates under a paradigm completely different from theirs. I shouldn’t be surprised, though; I first started leaning towards this conclusion when I tried the ‘How Prepped Are You’  feature (what the experts supposedly use to calculate the scores) at the NatGeo site; clearly, the brains behind the show—victims of our culture’s myth of Progress—cannot imagine a world in which one’s odds of survival have nothing to do with how much one has stockpiled (whether of food, water, paramilitary guns, or high-tech gear).

In his update, Snake sounds like they are setting up the makings of a nice homestead at Melissa’s parent’s house.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jonathan on 22 January, 2013 at 18:03

    He actually thanked God-Creator, and Rabbit Spirit at suppertime. Any idea as to what kind of bow that was? Any suggestions for a reliable, low-to-no-maintenance bow? I used to have a plasticy beige “target” bow that was fun to mess around with, but I really don’t think it’d have been enough to kill a sizable animal.


    • Hey Jonathan. As for bows, I couldn’t say; the only one I shoot is handmade by me. If you’re at all interested in making your own archery equipment, I highly recommend Jim Hamm’s _Bows and Arrows of the Native Americans_(1989). Thanks for reading!


  2. I agree with a lot of what was said here…It was disappointing that NatGeo’s film crew and producers/directors came out to Denver on a Friday and Interviewed my wife and I for 3 days and cut out the majority of what we showed them. For example: I talked about the importance of water and how to have both a long term and a short term plan. They cut out the long term plan and edited as if we had none. We have stored water and the ability to filter and boil water at our city home, and a natural spring, stored water and filtration systems (and boil ability) at Melissa’s parents home in Conifer, CO (an hour away). I also own a second location for bug out use in Oberlin, KS (4 1/2 hours away) and I have alternative locations at relatives and close friends in Texas, California, Oregon and Louisiana (and a few other areas should be be on travel when things go bad).


  3. Part II: Other things Nat Geo took out was my talk about the importance of First Aid and survival first aid training. I completed Army Combat Life-Saver course and was an instructor for the Red Cross and American Heart Association for over a decade. I also talked about the my military training 12 years plus with tours to Kuwait/Iraq and Afghanistan and my other travels which prepared me for survival situations outside of my Apache culture training on the old ways. I talked about my alternative ways to leave my city home if needed…motorcycle was just one option. Melissa and I have 2 bicycles each, two off-road Jeeps (1984 CJ7 and 1996 Cherokee Country with mods) and for speedy exits we have a 2011 Shelby and a 1995 Corvette. They took that out too.


  4. Part III: We also showed them our 1 year supply for 2 people which consisted of the “20 year shelf life” vacuumed sealed foods (which includes legumes, beans, rice, spices, etc). We also showed them our first aid/medical kits and liquid herbal medicines for survival situations. I also spoke of needing guns and ammo (which I have access to at various locations). I am Expert Qualified on Rifle and Pistol from the Marines & Navy and studied archery for a year with a former Olympic medalists. I also hold several instructor certifications & black belt ranks in martial arts and Melissa is currently studying Savate (French Street Fighting) and Apache Knife Fighting & Battle Tactics, but again none of this was shown on NatGeo. The visions I had were dreams I had as a child some 30 years ago that had other specific details not mentioned (i’m 42 this year)…of course it is obvious now and you don’t need a vision to see it.


  5. Part IV: Melissa also did eat some ants after a few minutes, which they filmed, but only showed her first reaction of her not eating them. I also talked more about tracking and stealth (demonstrating mud use to take away scent) and using a plant as medicine that I found on our hike. The rabbit was delicious and I showed cutting it with both the knife and the skull which I found that day on the hike. I talked about eating pets when things get bad, and that is why we used a healthy black rabbit to shoot as oppose to a jack rabbit. Regarding cutting the rabbit: I wanted to show people that if you don’t have a knife, you can use sharp rocks that you break (or find), or sharp teeth and bone from animals. I also talked about building shelters using things you find like the old dome sweat tent frame we came across. I also talked about building in the trees when possible but we didn’t have time to build one. The area we were at also had herds of Bison which we saw on Friday, the day before filming. That is another reason I picked that area as a quick bug out area for short term. It is about 20 south of my city house. I like the straight bow, as I can shot with my left or right hand and with the arrows shooting from the same side or opposite side of the bow. This is good in case one hand or arm gets injured and can’t pull the string back as well.


  6. This is my signature knife I used on the show–it’s called the Apache Falcon and it’s an awesome survival knife:
    You can also see some of my knife, war club and tomahawk skills on Deadliest Warriors Apache vs. Gladiators Season 1 Episode 1.


  7. There were hours of filming that didn’t air but NatGeo apparently wanted to make the Apaches looks unlearned once more. The producer/director told me that the experts rated me for about 70 months and wanted my response. Then they aired the show, stating we had 4 months but kept my response the same. They also gave a family that doesn’t even have a house a higher rating. Interesting isn’t it??? Feel free to contact me or look up my upcoming events. -Snake Blocker
    Here are some links to check out:


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